09. Foxiness ensues: Fishimi-Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 (Fushimi, Kyoto)--KenIt is axiomatic that Ken likes inari-zushi. And Kathryn comes from the Fox family (Kitsune in Japanese). Furthermore, in Japanese legend, the fox (who steals the keys to the grainary), his favorite food is fried tofu (inari). Therefore we had to go to the Fushimi-Inari Taisha shrine. (伏見稲荷大社).
This is a really special place. Out of the way, I think, for most western tourists, but not hard to get to from the Keihan line (just a few stops south of downtown), and a 5 minute walk from the station. (According to Wikipedia, "The shrine draws several million worshippers over the Japanese New Year, 2.69 million for 3 days in 2006 reported by the police, the most in western Japan.")
The main street leading to the shrine is lined with souvenir stores and food stalls. I took this photo in 2004.
The shrine itself is amazing. It goes and goes and goes, through maze of paths, up into the hills, through tunnels of orange torii gates. There were lots of people there when we went, and there were ceremonies taking place, but it was early enough in the morning, that the place wasn't mobbed at all.
OK, enough about the shrine, we were hungry and we sought our quarry. We needed to find a restaurant that could make Ken a plate of inari, and Kathryn some scrambled eggs. Et Voila, such a place appeared. "Tamago dake," and eggs arrived. "Inari-o kudasai," inari. Two hot cups of tea, and we had a really nice meal. We sat on the tatami with a TV blaring away in the otherwise quiet mid-morning restaurant scene.