It was time, for now, to say goodbye to Tokyo and head for Kyoto. With our JR Pass. We’d reserved seats on the Shinkansen. Earlier, we’d checked out which platform the train would leave from because the station is huge, serving about half-a-million people every day. When the Shinkansen arrived, it seemed to come from the future with its sleek profile.
We arrived in Kyoto too early to check-in to our hotel, so we looked for lockers at the station. Kyoto station is also huge and there were hundreds of inexpensive lockers. Kyoto and other cities in Japan have put a lot of effort into promoting tourism and have made life as easy as possible for the tourist.
Having dropped off our luggage, we headed for Fushimi Inari Shrine in the rain. At one point the rain got so bad, we looked for shelter. As luck would have it, we bumped into a lovely, picturesque coffee shop, the sort you’d never find in a guidebook:
When the rain stopped, we headed for the shrine, which is famous for its many orange Shinto torii gates.
Not surprisingly, there were many people at the shrine, mostly posing in the torii gates, having their photos taken. Sometimes, someone would hog one of the gates, posing for ages whilst others waited their turn. The Japanese people there just waited patiently. I wondered what they were thinking. A few days later, in a Kyoto museum, I unintentionally blocked the path of a schoolboy and he just waited patiently behind me until I moved.
As we followed the crowd around the partial one-way system, we found a path that everyone was ignoring, and which eventually led to a mountain. It was too far to walk to the mountain, but as we ascended the path, we came across beautiful bamboo trees.