Fushimi Inari Shrine, the Endless Red Tori Gates of Kyoto

We couldn't leave Kyoto without visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine, known for it's endless red tori gates. It was truly a sight to behold.

Within the forests of the endless path, we veered off from the gates to hike up the mountain. We came upon a cemetery and smaller shrines. Because of the crowds, we decided to stay off the main path and hike up the side of the mountain. Some of the path wasn't really a path at all. Instead, we walked through the forest, finding the best footing on the natural, forest floor.

When we got to the top, there was a maze of shrines, all small and cramped together. The crowd was much thinner at the top. Our plan was to walk down the red tori gate path (instead of up it) and it was a great plan since we were no longer fighting the crowds. Under the forest canopy, it was really shaded, and pretty cold at the top of the mountain. But because the hike kept us active, by the time we were at the top of the mountain, the coolest part, I was warm enough to take off my sweatshirt and leather jacket combo.

At many of the temples, you can buy a fortune. After depositing 100 yen, you shake the small container to the right to dislodge a skinny stick with a symbol on it. The symbol corresponds to a matching drawer, from which you take your fortune. If the fortune is good luck, then you take it home with you. If it is bad luck, then you fold it and tie it up at the shrine, leaving the negativity behind. That simple tradition of symbolically leaving negativity behind brings me so much happiness. 


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