Sunday, 16 February 2014

new year at fushimi inari

I woke up on the first day of the new year feeling decidedly more fresh than any other 1st January in recent memory...
Given our lack of shrine action the night before, we decided to head to the big one and visit Fushimi Inari... on just about the busiest day of the year. Check out my post from my last visit! 

She really does love suits. 

As you can see, it was a little more squashed than last time. All the way from the train station to the middle of the shrine complex, we jostled along slowly, frequently being pushed out the way by old women I might add! 

It was freezing again and the clouds seemed to hold snow, but we were fairly well insulated by the rubbing shoulders of our fellow visitors. 

 Once inside, I glimpsed this strange sight jauntily making its way through the crowds...

We caught up a little later! Unable to form a proper sentence, I simply exclaimed "Kawaaiii!", followed by "Why?!"

"He [the woman's husband] wants him [the woman's cat] to see the shrine! It's an important day!" 
Can't argue with that. 

So... my fox turned out really disturbing. Nice to know those manic eyes will remain at that sacred place for some time. 

 Jack the photo-bomber continues to thwart me. 

 Where can he be?

With legs like jelly from the long climb down, we slowly made our way back, jumped in a cab, and made for the nearest kaiten-zushi place in Kyoto Station. 

It was really fantastic to see one of my favourites shrines again, on one of the most important days of the year. The shrines were covered in tea, boiled eggs, sake, and other offerings. Around every corner people lit candles, rang bells, and read fortunes. Like last time, elderly people with walking sticks, children, and girls in ridiculous heels alike all made it up the hundred of steps to the top of the mountainside, embodying the principle of gaman, or endurance, as only the Japanese can. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure I do either Kurstin! People generally approach the shrine, wash their hands in one of the stone basins around, ring the bell and clap to draw the attention of the gods, and pray to them there. Sometimes the leave offerings. Then they can get their fortunes and leave behind their intentions on little wooden placards, kind of like votives.