letters to my younger self

Kyoto Series: Torii Gates and Chasing Geishas

Day two started out later and when we go out of the streets in Osaka – the sun rays were lovely. I will never forget the feeling of liking the sun rays because back home I really dislike the heat. But still, it was cold. Also, I get cold very easily that’s why I wore four layers of clothing this day and channelling my inner Japanese girl fashion, I come up with a cute outfit. That I don’t know if it fits my age. But if it fits my looks, I guess I could get away with it.

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Going to Inari Station
The way to Inari Station is different from Arashiyama. In Arashiyama we used the Hankyu line but going to Inari station we used the JR Tokkaido line. We go first to Umeda station where we saw a line of Japanese students passing by and ate breakfast at Delifrance. In Japan I learned how to eat bread for breakfast actually. And it tasted good. I guess I just wasn’t fond of breads or light breakfast.

And then when we don’t know where to go – because we need to walk from Umeda Station to Osaka station – they asked a random passerby and he really gone big and drew us a map! (I swear we were very thankful to this guy – it’s like his motto is “go big or go home”) I even wondered how he was carrying a graphing paper with him but maybe that is his job. But anyway I remembered my father who always drew me maps whenever I would ask directions to a certain place.

The Osaka station is huge. And beautiful. And busy. And very high-end. I don’t know. You’d feel like you are really in a different country. But also, the people here were very busy – walking fast and trying to get into their destination like there’s no time to waste. Better walk fast so that you’ll not get left behind.

You can’t get lost because there’re a lot of signages (that’s also what I love in Japan, a LOT of signages) and if you’re not sure, you can always ask someone but in our case we always ask the people who work in the subway/trains – they seem to know even the times departure of the subway/trains!

So, from here we rode the rapid express line with only two or three stops to Kyoto. Pro: you can get faster to your destination. Con: since there are few stops, the people were full inside and you have to stand up all the way to your destination. Which isn’t a bad thing because that’s a good trade-off.

We got off at Kyoto station and got in another train that will go to Inari station. When we got off at Inari station – there were a lot of tourists!

Entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine
It is not very cold here or maybe because our outfits were already prepared for the cold. The sunlight is showing and it feels warm and better.

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I guess since Fushimi Inari Shrine is very popular, there a LOT of people in here. In the Torii gates where people usually want to take pictures of – you cannot really take a picture there because the people were packed. We tried. We tried but those were only close ups and half-body shots.

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And then we got to the middle where there is this water fountain. Or what do you call it? I guess I’ll call it water fountain then.

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Some people we saw were washing their hands and then drinking the water. We tried it also one after another and took lots of pictures. (Note: And then I read back home that you were not supposed to drink the water – you were supposed to clean your mouth with the water and spit it on the stones! But the people we saw were drinking it! We only copied them. Haha. I guess I’ll try to read more before imitating other people. )

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After that were a series of torii gates again. This time they were spaced further away. If you will continue on the path – it will lead you to Mt. Inari but we didn’t go there since we know that it would take us a lot of time.

So what did we do? We tried again to take photos of the torii gates at the back where not so many people were passing by. It was funny back then because it’s like one of us will take photos of the other one and the rest is going to be the lookout on both ways so that we will know if people were going to come. Millennial life – oh, the things we do just to get a decent picture. πŸ™‚

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And then when we had enough – we headed to the exit. The weather is nice, not too cold and along the exit were street foods. We bought Japanese cake but I regret not eating other foods. 😦 We tried looking for restaurants but this is really what I didn’t like about the trip – when we were hungry and we can’t seem to find food that we really wanted to eat.

Long Walks
I’m not sure about the others but a place is not a place I’ve been to if I have not walked on it for a long time. I thought the walk from Fushimi to Tofukuji was bearable. And since we have not really found somewhere to eat I thought it was a good idea to just walk. After all – it’s only one station away from each other.

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Good idea? Wrong! We were tired upon reaching Tofukuji and when we got there we still have nowhere to eat. So we trod on until we found restaurants. But no regrets. This is how I find the city of Kyoto very at peace. If there was another word for it. Tranquil. We walked on the road not being walked on by tourists. I swear we were the only one walking on that road.

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And I know we’re not lost because the map is never wrong. (Darn, my navigation skills were being put to the test!) But our surroundings were the normal streets of Kyoto. It’s like we walked on their residential area and I could still do it again and like it. Why? Because its simplicity is what I loved in Japan, or in Kyoto in this case. And then we walked on this bridge and I swear it is what I see in animes – the normal bridge that they draw and the streets, cross roads, trains, stoplights and darn, I feel like being in that world.

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But also, it is not only the surroundings that make long walks worthwhile. If anything, it is the company you are walking with. And I had the best company – except that last minute when all of us were really very hungry and emotions were running high. But you see – you can enjoy long walks alone but it is better walking along with friends and laughing about it and having gazillion stories because the walk just won’t end.

The walk ended when we finally reached our destination – the place where we’re going to eat. πŸ™‚ I had Yakiniku and I didn’t get it why it is served with pasta. Haha.

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Tofukuji and Autumn Leaves
We walked back a bit to enter Tofukuji temple and the entrance is already amazing. The autumn leaves and it is already dusk. I can see the crescent moon from where I was. And it’s like a reminder that the day is ending but we still don’t want to. We took pictures but then was interrupted when they said that the temple is already closed. Wait, what?! But well, it is already 4:30pm and so we followed suit.

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But since we were already there we took pictures of the temple and when we were near the exit, we made use of the autumn leaves.

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I swear if some people saw us they are going to laugh at us. We gathered all the fallen autumn leaves and tried to capture it on video in slow motion while throwing it in our surroundings ala korean drama. It was fun. I was, indeed. It was fun because what the heck are we doing, normal tourist don’t do this but we’re not normal and we’re just trying to enjoy besides the temple is already closed this is the only thing we can do in this place so our time won’t be wasted so yeah let’s do it and to heck with what they’re going to think about us. Good thing we looked younger that our age so we can really get away with every “kalokohan” that we do. So yeah, that was fun! πŸ™‚

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We planned to go to Nishiki Market but since it will be closed by 6pm we just headed to Gion Street. The train station is the same and this is where I lost by younger sister’s blue beanie. (I still haven’t replaced it ’till now) But before we got to the train station we walked (again) and we had to cross this underground pass – where no one walks on and it feels creepy and the air is eerily quiet and it’s getting dark and really, they’ve asked me “are we really going to cross here?” and I said yes – nothing happened, it’s just that it was really weird crossing there but well – weird is a side effect of awesome.

Chasing Geishas
I guess this day has a lot of walks. We walked from Gion-shijo station to Gion corner and it was already dark. But the streets were filled with stores and restaurants and people. πŸ™‚

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It was like Vigan except we’re in Kyoto. But the atmosphere is the same and it was beautiful like Vigan. And then my map is telling us to go to this dark corner and I just followed and it darker and then I hear footsteps and then I saw a geisha. We saw a real-life geisha and we were surprised. I didn’t know I could walk into a geisha like they are normal people. And it that deserted street we stayed – we actually walked into a total of three geishas but capturing photos at night using your cellphone is not advisable, so no decent pictures here.

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We strolled in Gion street and then when we’re tired we tried to look for something to eat while walking near the station. And this is also where I saw postcards and wrote to myself and a friend. I got to drop the postcard into this red mailbox in front of the already closed post office.

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Back to Dotonbori
We didn’t find anything we wanted to eat so we headed back to Dotonbori. We were a little bit early than our first day and even if it was still cold we managed to walk far. And strolled some more. I swear we walked a lot this day! We were planning to go up to Glico Man but since we were hungry (again) we decided to just eat for tonight. Besides, we still have a lot of days in Osaka.

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While we were deciding what and where to eat I saw this sushi-go-round restaurant and I don’t want to eat in another restaurant. And then I suddenly hear Big Bang’s music emanating from a claw machine – I thought it was music from the claw machine but on top of the claw machine is a TV where the concert of Big Bang is showing. Haha! I thought claw machine has Big Bang as its background music. How silly of me!

They wanted to eat in a grill restaurant but I really wanted to eat in the sushi-go-round so I asked if I can eat alone? (This is not the usual me, but I guess being in Japan made me different – and I thought to myself I really really really wanted it and don’t want to withhold it from myself at that time)Β So there. That is how I got my sushi-go-round experience alone. Thinking back I guess it would’ve been better if I’m with them and I guess I am a grinch for not joining them but well – spilled milk already.

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And here I had legit tears of joy – because of my dreams materialising – I’m in Japan and eating in sushi-go-round. Looking back again, I guess it was meant to be – I was in Osaka eating alone and I messaged another friend who is strolling Taiwan streets alone that very same night. That was the literally being alone together.

So I guess that’s that. Day two finally done. I finished almost the same time they finished eating and I’m blessed even if I’m weird like this they don’t hate me. For not eating with them. Haha.

We wanted to stroll some more but since we’re tired we retreated back home.

It was fun even if we didn’t see all the places that is listed on our itinerary for that day and it was a bit of a waste. But we did see geishas, we enjoyed the Fushimi Inari and Gion street and the sushi-go-round is the highlight so what’s the waste. I guess more for next time and it was really really fun going with these bunch. ❀

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