Fushimi Inari Taisha

You may be thinking, “Fushimi Inari whaaa?” but I can assure you that you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve seen the movie Memoirs of A Geisha then you’ll recall the scenes with hundreds of brilliant orange gates (torii). These scenes were filmed at Fushimi Inari Taisha located just outside of Kyoto. Indeed, most of the movie takes place in Gion, a district just a bit south of the hotel we typically stay in during our trips to see Nintendo.

ANYWAY, after a meeting with Nintendo in the morning we took a quick train ride to Fushimi-ku a few km south of the city. (You can actually spot Nintendo’s office building in one of the photos from the top of the hill.)

Fushimi is the largest of the shrines in Japan dedicated to Inari, who is the god of rice, sake and prosperity – three things I truly enjoy. It is famous for the many gates. Supposedly there are 10,000 of them snaking up and around the hill. Statues of foxes (kitsune) are scattered about the site. They supposedly are messengers of Inari and can also ward off evil.

The Kyoto guide that Mr. Pants had on the trip suggested that the local delicacy in Fushimi was grilled sparrow. Being the adventurous eater I am, I had to try it.

I was a little surprised when it arrived to find that it was literally a bunch of sparrows on a stick. Was I supposed to eat it beak and all? I had no idea… but struggled through.

If you’re ever in Kyoto, definitely visit Fushimi. If you’ve ever in Fushimi definitely skip the sparrow. You’ll thank me on both counts.

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