Welcome to Arashiyama, Kyoto – Home of the bamboo forests

In mid-November, I went to Arashiyama (嵐山), in north west Kyoto. This area is famous for its bamboo forests and for the beautiful scenery when the leaves start to change colors. Because of the hot summer this year, the leaves had not yet changed when I went, but it was still quite beautiful.

One of the main attractions is this bridge, Togetsukyō (渡月橋). The name means “moon crossing bridge”. It lives up to its romantic name in the scenery around it, which is often used in posters in Japan.

The leaves had not yet turned colors when I went, but still, very picturesque. It was a great way to destress from my hectic everyday life.

I went to Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺), which is the main temple of the Rinzai sect o Buddhism. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arashiyama is also famous for its bamboo groves. This is one of the main walking areas, and it was pretty crowded.

In Arashiyama, you may see tourists going around in these rickshaws.  I’m told that they are quite expensive, but it looks like an interesting experience!

Apparently Arashiyama is not very popular in foreign tourist books, but it is a very popular place in Japan.  If you are looking for a non-touristy place in Kyoto, this may be it.

Hope you enjoyed my visit to Arashiyama!

xoxo, K

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Welcome to Fushimi Inari Taisha, home of 1000 toriis

In many train stations in Japan, you’ll find great pictures of different locations around Japan, enticing you to visit them. One of the most famous, and most impressive of those pictures is the scene below.

This is Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, which has been around since the 8th century AD.
 It is the head shrine of Inari, which is a Japanese god of fertility, industry, and other things. The other thing this place is famous for is for its 1000 torii (red gates).

One of the key characteristics of Inari worship is the significance of foxes (kitsune), regarded as messengers of Inari. Statues of foxes can be found throughout Inari shrines, in locations usually reserved for other animals.

This shrine is actually a set of shrines built on a mountain. At the bottom of the mountain is the main shrine.  There is a path through the mountain, passing through several smaller shrines and thousands of private worship areas.

One thing many tourists, including most Japanese people, do not realize is that if you want to go through the entire shrine, it is a 2.5 hour mountain hike!

Entrance of Fushimi Inari Taisha

Kitsune figures can be seen throughout the shrine

Gate to the main shrine
In other Japanese shrines, the entrance to a shrine is guarded by dogs. In Inari shrines, they are guarded by kitsune (foxes). 
The left hand one is the female.

The right hand one is the male.

The red gates start…

Here is the inner entrance… and the hiking begins.
The map clearly states that this is a 2.5 hour long mountain hike, but most people do not stop to read the map before starting out.


And up…
There are small shrines along the way

And smaller places where people can privately worship.

The kitsune are everywhere!

Finally at the top!
(It seriously did take me about 2 hours to get to the top. Then, of course, you need to get down)

It was a good, long hike. Definitely wear layers, bring water, and bring some candy for a quick burst of energy. I would also advise not going in the middle of summer or winter because the weather in Kyoto can become quite extreme.
Notice the writing on the torii (red gates)? They are only visible from the back side. These are the names of the companies/individuals who contributed money for each torii. There is a separate price for the different sizes.
Hope you enjoyed this overview of Fushimi Inari Taisha, the head shrine of Inari and home of the 1000 torii gates. If you do decide to visit when you come to Kyoto, remember to be prepared for the 2.5 hour mountain hike!
xoxo, K
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In Kyoto with Mona!

By now, many people know about Mona’s FABULOUS trip all over Asia!
I had the VERY special privilege of meeting up with her in Kyoto!

It was a fantastic day and Mona was such a sweet, fun girl!!!
Thank you for coming to Kyoto, Mona!

Kyoto is a city in western Japan which is basically the center of all historical things!
(Yume-chan, that’s a good enough explanation, isn’t it? hahaha)
Anyway, more on Kyoto here!

Kyoto is about 2 hrs and nearly 100 km (over 60 miles) from where I live, so I had to get up bright and early to meet her. That was a little bit tough considering we talked for 4 hours the previous night, until 1 AM! hahaha

When I got to Mona’s hotel room, this was her status!
(yes, she knows I’m uploading these)

Mona’s morning skin care routine

Straightening her hair
(and eventually giving up with the sucky flat iron)

Doing makeup!!! Wooohoooo!

Mona is the very first youtuber I subscribed to!
I’ve been a fangirl of hers for a while, so it was so unreal that I got to watch her get ready!

Mona also gave me her side of a swap we did!
Here are the goodies!

MAC Shadestick in Shimmersand
MAC Lipglasses in Pink Grapefruit and Wonderstruck
Mona’s half-used TFSI (LOL!)

Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal (from my Wish List!!!!)
The Face Shop loose Eyeshadow

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Sample
Some Loose Eyeshadow samples
Benefit Color Plump

Thank you so much, Mona!!!

(By the way, these pictures were taken on Mona’s bed!)

Of course, we had to eat before we headed out!!!
I had a Goya Champuru set meal! Yummy!

We headed off to Nijo Castle!
Mona knew more about how to get around Kyoto than I did!!!!

Fobby Mona, hahahaha

Then we headed off to Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion)

And on to Gion!

Yasaka Shrine

Mona and me in a bus
A side street in Gion

We finished off the day with some cold Tempura soba in Gion.
This was the best tempura I’ve had in a very long time!

Here are a few things I bought!

Yoji-ya Blotting paper
This must be the most famous blotting paper in Japan!
(and it is only sold in the Kyoto area!!!)

Juzu and a case
This is NOT a bracelet!
It is something which I need for Japanese funerals, similar to prayer beads.
But I wanted a pretty one anyway!!

Thank you again to Mona for spending the day with me!
I had a fantastic time!!!
Please come back to Kansai!!!!!!

And if any other blogger girls are coming to Japan…
Please come to Western Japan (Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe area)!
We’ve got good food and many beautiful places to go to!!!!

xoxo, K

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