Fushimi Inari & Nara

My final day in Kyoto began by visiting the Fushimi Inari shrine. This is one of the MOST famous shrines in all of Kyoto. Maybe even in all of Japan. I’ve seen pictures of this place everywhere, and it was definitely at the top of my to-see list.

I arrived pretty early in the morning, and there were already quite a few people there. There was also a lot of construction going on, and I was a little disappointed at first because I thought this would ruin the experience. But the higher I climbed, the less construction and people there were.

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After walking through the 1,000 gates, I decided I didn’t care to walk all the way to the top of the mountain and instead chose to walk back down a different way.

It was very peaceful and there were few people.

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I felt a little tired of Kyoto after this and wanted to get out of the city. This led to me going to Nara.

What was supposed to be a 1 hour train ride to Nara actually ended up being about 2 1/2 hours because I had to walk a ton, and then accidentally got on the wrong train TWICE IN A ROW. Thankfully, I had Google Maps to lead the way.

When I first got off the train into Nara, it started sprinkling a bit. There were also a lot of people and I didn’t really know where to go so I just followed the crowds. This led me to some temple/shrine. I really liked the shape of this building! It reminded me of one of those places at Epcot in Orlando, Florida.

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I didn’t plan on going to the famous deer park, but apparently the deer park is right next to this beautiful building. There were deer everywhere! And they were just roaming around. I thought it was so random and didn’t understand why they were there in the middle of the city.

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I sat in the deer park and wrote in my journal for a while before it started really raining. Tired of temples and shrines, I chose to go to the Nara National Museum. They had a special exhibit on a famous buddhist. I learned a lot about buddhism through this museum, and thought it was interesting. I took a course in college where we learned about Buddhism, but don’t remember anything about it. It gave me an appreciation for my own religion. I’m so happy I don’t worship a God who is distant.

In the exhibit, the Buddhist who was highlighted really wanted to reach a sense of enlightenment in his own life. After his mother died, he dedicated his life to buddhism and desperately wanted to reach this enlightenment. I was impressed with how he cared for the poor and disadvantaged, even animals. It reminded me how important it is for Christians to care for the same. When we care for these things, the world takes notice and we can give God the glory.

Also, look at this deer just hanging out in front of the museum!

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After walking around the museum, I decided to see what this famous temple was all about. I had seen pictures of it before and thought that maybe it would be interesting. When I arrived in the area, it was SO PACKED. That, plus the rain and the smell of wet deer everywhere made for a messy experience. I chose to skip out on spending money to see the temple and was satisfied with taking a picture from the outside.

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I ditched the crowds and walked the streets instead.

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Somehow, I stumbled upon a garden. Did I mention how much I love Japanese gardens? Because I do. I need this in my future house one day.

It was almost closing time, and when the women told me I only had about a 1/2 hour to roam, I thought, “Oh! That’s more than enough time!”

What I didn’t know is that this garden would be my highlight in all of Nara. I felt like I was in the Shire!

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For a short time, it was just me, God, the rain, and unbelievable beauty.

After my lovely time, I wanted to find a store to shop in, but couldn’t find much. I decided to head back to Kyoto.

Instead of finding a random restaurant for dinner, I thought I should intentionally pick a restaurant on my last night. I found a nice restaurant from the internet that specializes in bento boxes.

OH MY LANTA was it delicious. I have never had a meal that felt like a symphony in my mouth. It was life changing.

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After my experience, I thought I should cross off one more final sight off my to-do list. Though I had seen the famous Gion district before, I hadn’t visited it at night. This district is famous for being a place where real, live Geishas work!

I roamed the adorable, quaint streets for about an hour or two. And just when I thought I wasn’t going to see a Geisha, out popped one! I did not get a picture of her, but she was a sight to see. I was blessed to see her before all the crowds surrounded (er, mobbed) her.

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Thus ended my last day in Kyoto! Onto Tokyo!

What do you think?