Monday, September 18th, 2017
Abby’s Last Day
We got up in the morning like normal and got breakfast. We talked about our planes and Abby reminded me that this is her last day. I’m so sad but she has to go back to Beijing and teach English. As I will be doing the same but back in Taiwan. I will miss Abby but that’s the life of a traveler. You meet new people and become close to them and they move on to their next destination.
Went to Fushimi Inari-Taisha
We took the train to get to the shrine. It didn’t take long to find the shrine once we get off the train. Just follow the crowd. Once we got to the entrance, we saw so many people. Even though we went in the morning, it was still pretty crowded but not too crowded were you can’t move. On our way up, we passed by a few souvenirs shops that I need to check out once we get back. Need to pick up some stuff for the family. Then we arrived at the first of many Torii Gates. Just rows and rows of them. It looked the way I was hoping they would. The first time I found out about Fushimi Inari-Taisha was from the movie, “Memoirs of a Geisha”. From the movie, the Torii Gates just looked amazing and beautiful. Even though Hollywood reconstructed it that it looks like the girl is running on a flat street. But in real life, you have to climb a lot of stairs. One of the main reasons why I chose to come to Kyoto was because of this movie. It was a little difficult to get a good picture of my self and my friends at the beginning because of the crowd of people that were trying to do the same thing. But the further we went up the shrine, the thinner the crowd got. Then I could finally get some decent pictures without all the people.
We found out most of the people that we came in with didn’t want to climb to the top of the shrine. But we did and because of it, we got to see some amazing shrines with the fox and see an amazing view from the top of the hill. It took us about two hours to climb to the top. We saw some hikers once we got there. You can seat on a bench or rocks to relax and enjoy the view. That’s exactly what we did.
We climbed up some steps and found some more fox shrines. At some of these shrines, there will be a small booth selling candles. The candles are used to make your wish to the fox god. I would see people buy a candle and the shopkeeper will light the candle for you. Then you walk over to the shrine and show your respect, make a wish, place the candle in the ash or sand (I’m not sure what that is that holds the candle up but it looks like sand to me), then ring the bell. Then the fox god will think over your request and decide to grant it or not.
After all the walking and climbing stairs, we went back to the viewpoint. At the viewpoint, they have ice cream stands there. They were selling soft served soy milk ice cream. You can get reviled flavor, a twist, (but this twist was with soy and green tea) and green tea flavored. Dana got the green tea flavored and I got the twist. My ice cream tasted pretty good. The green tea flavored overpowered the soy flavor. You can taste a little bit of soy milk but it wasn’t very strong like the green tea. It was nice to have an ice cream cone and admire the view.
After we were done eating our ice cream we started climbing back down the stairs. We knew we were getting closer because we started seeing more and more people coming up the stairs. Once we got back to the bottom of the shrine we started looking at souvenirs. They had about five or seven different shops that were selling souvenirs. A lot of key chains, postcards, magnets, Geisha dolls, samurai dolls, Japanese style tea cups, Japanese style sake cup set, fox mask, and so on. But my dad requested a Japanese boat figuring. My mom’s friend went to Japan and came back with one of those. I looked at every shop they had at the shrine. No luck. They sold everything else but that. I will not give up though. I will keep looking. But I did buy a Japanese doll for my dad and some postcards and magnets for myself.
Once we were done looking around, we went down a street that had a lot of food stalls. We checked out every food stall and everything looked so delicious. We were drooling. Well, I was at less. All the climbing up the stairs made me hungry. It was lunch time anyway so Abby and I got beef on a stick. And Dana got some noodles. Our beef on a stick was really good and juicy. Dana shared some of her noodles with us and her noodles were good too.
Time To Go Back To The Hostel
After we were done eating, we took the train back to Kyoto station. We went to a coffee shop that is nearby the station to relax from our long day. Its Abby and I favorite coffee shop because they sell pumpkin lattes. I’ve lived in Taiwan for four years and they don’t do themed food or drinks there for the holidays. Abby said the same thing for Beijing. So seeing that Japan does have themed food and drinks we just couldn’t pass it up. Dana didn’t care too much about because America has themed food and drinks everywhere every year. We ordered our pumpkin lattes and we sat down and just relaxed. We just chatted for a bit about what we did and what we liked about the shrine. After we were done drinking our coffees, we walked back to our hostel. Once we got back we had to say goodbye to Abby. The hostel will hold on to your stuff for you even after you checked out. We said our goodbyes and gave her a hug as she is off to Osaka before she has to go back to Beijing.
Dana and I both took a nap because we were really tired from everything we did today. After our nap, it was about dinner time. I recommended to Dana about going to Pontocho area, which is located in downtown Kyoto. They have lots of different food. Dana said there is a food place we could eat called We took the subway there and followed our Google map screenshots, and we got there ok. We didn’t get to badly lost. The restaurants were busy. A mix of foreigners and Japanese people were standing in line. There was a waiting list outside that you had to sign your name and write how many people are in your group. We were 6th place on the waiting list. We had to wait outside tell our names are called. We used this time to look around the area but not too far because the sign said if you are not here when they call your name you will lose your spot.
More Host Boys
While we were waiting, we saw some more cute host boys standing nearby the restaurants. We got a little nervous at first but then we realized they won’t say anything to us because we are poor looking. I know they do profiling and want people in the club that have money to spend. They will look for brand names items that you are wearing or name brand handbags. Also, we notice that they aren’t talking to any foreigners. I did some more research about host clubs and found out a few things. They want their customers to become regulars and don’t want someone who only wants to come to the host club just for the experience. Also, they want local girls because they know the customs of the host clubs, speak Japanese, and have to pay in cash. No credit cards. Just a few interesting facts I found and just by observing the host club boys because I had nothing else to do while we waited for our names to be called.
The dinner was pretty good. We order some boneless chicken wings and some dumplings. We tried there orange spicy sauce. The orange spicy sauce was so good. Dana took a picture of the bottle to reminded us to buy some of it later from the grocery store.
After dinner, we walked around a little bit. It was only 9 pm and we started to see drunk people on the street. Then we saw a few bars and one nightclub. We realized we were on a party street. We went another street down and it was a big difference between the two. The other street was just a bunch of stores to go shopping at. They had a lot name brand stores and some local stores. Everyone seemed pretty sober on this street, unlike the other one.
After our interesting night out, we headed back to our hostel. After our crazy fun, we started making plans for tomorrow and headed off to bed.