Today started with a spritzing of rain which turned to a downpour. This was disappointing, because today we visited the Fushimi Inari Shrine, an outdoor park with thousands of orange torii gates. These beautiful gates snake up a mountainside that our guide told us would take about two hours to walk. We only had an hour at the shrine however, and the rain was pretty miserable to endure, so we walked through a short tunnel of gates and turned back for our bus.
Our next stop was thankfully indoors. We visited Sanjūsangen-dō, the hall of 1001 Kannon Buddhas. We couldn’t take pictures inside the shrine, so I unfortunately have no photographic proof I visited this place. It was yet another stunning example of how good the Japanese are at mass-production [joke].
After visiting the shrines, we headed for Gion, a large shopping area in Kyoto. We took a brief walking tour and then went to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. We tried matcha and some kind of sweet (perhaps mochi, but much starchier?). I won’t lie–matcha tastes a little like dirt, but I preferred to think of it as a more flavorful green tea.
After returning to our hotel, I ventured out into the rain to look for a ¥100 store. I had heard these places sold neat things you couldn’t get anywhere else, so I thought it would be worth checking out. I was disappointed to find out, however, that these really are just the Japanese version of Dollar stores (albeit, the one I found was much cleaner, bigger, and well-organized). I headed back to the hotel without purchasing anything.
To top off our time in Kyoto, we had dinner at Ninja, a restaurant serving Japanese fusion food. The waiters even dressed like Ninjas and did magic tricks, complete with pyrotechnics. It was a fun meal to finish our time in Japan.