A few days in Japan
Fushimi Inari Shrine I'm back and rested after a wonderful few days in Japan. It was my first solo, backpacking trip, and it was a truly enriching experience and I can't wait to explore the world by myself or with others. I wasn't as nervous or scared as I thought I would be, and while waiting at the airport thoughts were of what I would see, do, and all the delicious foods I would eat. I had everything booked to visit India for two weeks, but with my skin issues (breaking out in rashes when exposed in the sun and high heat) and the advice from my friends there, I've decided to hold off my India trip to a later (and cooler) time. Not one to stay home during time off, I booked a ticket to Japan to explore Osaka, Kyoto and Nara.
I've visited and lived in Japan before, but I haven't been the areas mentioned. My little getaway helped me to appreciate the culture of Japan on a different level; every corner was a surprise that made me fall more in love with the culture, people, food, and history.
Arriving in Japan
The apartments (very suitable and recommended for backpackers) was located just outside Osaka at Shin-imamiya. Kyoto, Nara and Osaka was a very easy and short commute from there. I stayed at Apartments Cuurong, and it was a cozy apartment with Japanese styled rooms and the night I arrived I met the most friendly people and had a hearty dinner followed by lots of drinks. Staying at hostels and B&Bs will give you something resorts and fancy hotels can't; interaction with individuals from around the world and a family welcoming. I would not trade my few days there for a king size bed at the Osaka Hilton for anything. Wherever your next trip is, give yourself the chance to stay somewhere other than a hotel.
Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社
Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favorite movies and Fushimi Inari Shrine was naturally one of the must see places in Kyoto. I visited here the second to last day of my trip, but I couldn't wait to share it and start my Japan series with my visit there. It was raining a lot the night before and I was a little worried about the weather the next day but it cleared up after a little bit of morning sprinkles and it ended up being a beautiful day with blue skies.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located throughout Mt. Inari, and to walk through the peaceful nature trail takes about two to three hours. It's famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates. It's dedicated to Inari, the Shinto God of Rice and the fox statues that you see throughout the trail are there because foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers. Learning about the history of each temple I visited was such a spellbinding experience.
Throughout the trail you'll see rest stops of restaurants, breathtaking views of the city, and smaller shrines of miniature torii gates placed there by visitors. I spent about two hours walking through the trails and was so at peace with myself and the world around me. As you move further along the trail, the amounts of tourist becomes increasingly less and at times I was by myself surrounded by the rustling of trees and song of birds.
Do you have plans for visiting Japan soon and if you've visited, how was your experience?