City of the red gates: Fushimi Inari and ‘writing my hope’

Travel Date:  9/29/2015
When I travel, it seems that there is never enough time in one place. 3 days in Kyoto made me feel this acutely. This is my last day in Kyoto. This afternoon I’ll catch the Shinkensen towards Tokyo but I’ve got time for one more stop; Fushimi Inari’s famous red gates.

Inari is just 2 stops from Kyoto on the local train so its quick and easy to get to. I head off to Kyoto station by bus. Then, I leave my heavy bag at the train station- for $4-5 you can get a locker or check your bag into the bag storage on the lower level. Next, I hop on the local train and head out.

The site is directly across from the train station- 15 minutes after I leave Kyoto, I’m walking up a corridor proudly flanked by 50+ of these TripAdvisor signs.

Now the fun begins! So many red gates!

There is a big hill to walk up. All lined with gates!

Don’t worry, old ladies with canes can make it up- so can you!

I took a side trip to check out some memorials where the locals leave offerings for their ancestors.

Maybe I got too far off track because once I got to the top there was no gate. Just an old billboard frame & a view of the city. No matter. On the way back down I found wonderful sights like Buddah’s mother & kittens!

I ducked off the path again and found it. A four foot high stone temple covered with white fox figurines.

And also a place for ‘Writing Your Hope’. I have seen many of these places in the temples of Japan and they usually instruct the worshiper to light a candle for luck or good fortune or love or health. Some are very specific; safe traveling, good exams, happy attitude, etc. But this one was wide open, what did I hope for?

Immediately, I knew my hope. You might know it too.
It is no secret that I hope to meet a kind + clever man.
It was clear, this temple knew my hope as well.
All of the tiny papers tied along the fence had hopes like mine.
I didn’t have time to read them all – but I didn’t need to.
The ones I read were meant for me. It was unusual that they were in English.
I looked around to located the stack of papers, but couldn’t find them.

Instead, I left a small offering and took one of the tiny fox figurines in a bowl nearby.

They had a little string on them, like cell phone charms.

Writing my hope, Fushimi – Inari.