I lost count at about 1437

That's a lot of torii

Hi all. Thanks for the comments that are starting to come in. No doubt some of you are back at work so I hope I can distract you a little 🙂

Sorry for missing a day of posting… hope you don’t think I’m slacking off too much. But last night I was maybe not in the best state to post. No, nothing wrong… just with a few drinks under my belt and a morning of travelling today I thought it best to get some sleep. So let’s go back to yesterday.

I was a bit sad to be saying sayonara to Fujiko and Yoshi. They had treated me SO well. They couldn’t do enough for me and I am really appreciative of that. I hope I can return the favour some day soon back home. So I left their house to check in to a hotel in Nagoya, where Glen, Ayako, and I were going to meet with more friends of theirs for more… yep, eating. We were apparently heading to a small izakaya that was highly recommended so even though I had been eating non stop, I was pretty excited.

After a quick bout of shopping, we all met up and off we went. And holy crap.

Hole in the wall

This place was tiny. It had one booth which we were in and a counter and that was it. So did that mean it wasn’t that good? NO WAY.

More amazing friends

Like the night before I sat back and food just came in copious amounts. So did the beers, and then the sake. And like most my trip there was not much english to be spoken, but some keywords like “Ghibli” can be understood by all. And boy did we have some laughs.

Sake with beer chaser

With the amazing food, the beer and sake, and the amazing hospitality of everyone (especially Ayako and Glen themselves) life really is too good.

Mmmm... eggplant

Nothing too wacky eaten. Highlights were definitely the miso eggplant and tempura sweet potato. Mmmmm.

Mmmm... sweet potato

So with a fair few drinks under the belt it was time to say goodnight. Masato was waiting his mum and dad, and I had to settle back in to my hotel. It was a bit odd saying see ya to Glen and Ayako and will be a spin out to think when I next see them it will be in Berwick.

Kyoto I love you

So that brings me to this morning. Woke up feeling good, so got organised and jumped on the shinkansen to Kyoto. Ah Kyoto, how I adore thee. It is such an amazing place it was a delight to be back. Astro Boy was missing from the front of the train station which was a bit disappointing, but greeting me in the station were 3 different flavours of Kit Kats, one of which I hadn’t tried (Cinnamon Cookie). So of course I bought it as well as the black tea flavour. Ah Kyoto, you are too awesome.

Fushimi Inari

Being about 10am it was bit early for hostel check in, so dropped the bag off and went exploring. The main temple I was keen to visit this trip was Fushimi Inari. I have no idea how I missed it last time, but it is one of the more famous, boasting over 1000 torii gates along a path in the woods. So it was straight there.

Making wishes with the masses

Now, how busy the train was should have been an indicator, but it was crazy there. New Year celebrations were still in force with lots of people as well as markets. I can’t imagine what it must have been like a few days ago (Wikipedia says that they had 2.6 million during a New Year a few years ago). So with the masses I wandered up the hill to the main shrine to rung the bell and make some wishes.

The path to happiness

Once up the hill a little bit that is where the amazing part of this area starts. Thousands of donated torii gates of different sizes form a series of paths through the hills, and makes a walking track of about 4km. It is so hypnotic walking through the torii that I couldn’t help but start walking and not stop. I was going to try counting but realised pretty quickly it would be quite futile.

Do I look enlightened?

Each turn becomes a photo moment, with the light streaming in in different ways and making it a great experience. At times you can be the only one, although with so many people it was a very very rare occurance.

What are you looking at?

Along with the torii, thousands of statues of foxes are dotted along the path and at the many hundred small shrines throughout the hill.

Well, it is cold

They are very cool too, with some looking well worn with their moss coverings, or knitted hats as it were.

Ribbit... ribbit

Oh, there is the odd frog too.

So what I thought would be an hour long visit became a 3-4 hour wander doing the whole circuit, ending up back at the start. And just as I arrived back snow started to fall. Unfortunately it wasn’t cold enough for the snow to stay, but in the hills in Kyoto, temples and shrines as backdrops, and snow. Not bad hey.

So with some takoyaki from a market stall I headed back to the hostel. What was just going to be a stop for an hour or two then out for a wander has been a night of staying in chatting to other travellers. No rush to head out in the city… I had some folks and kit kats to keep me company 🙂

Oh, and here is what I have been eating…

Cinnamon Cookie and Black Tea

Black Tea… I like this one. The tea is not strong, but you certainly know it is black tea in the chocolate.

Cinnamon Cookie… is cinnamon alright. Not too overpowering but I am not the biggest cinnamon fan. Certainly some bits in there that are the cookie too.

Green Tea "Air In"

Green Tea “Air In”… I found this in a convenience store walking back to the hostel. Meant to be a green tea kit kat but with chocolate around the outside like an aero bar. OK, but the aero part was not really to aero.

Rilakkuma Hotcake (how cute is that?)

Rilakkuma Hotcake… this was the big find. Apprently quite rare (Google doesn’t show much of anything about it) I found a limited edition box at a store in an underground walkway mall thing under Kyoto station (Just in case you haven’t worked it out Rilakkuma is a very popular bear character here… but I’m sure you did). Tasty! Very sweet, but definitely pancake with maple syrup tasting.

So that is the epic two day post, where in some respects I didn’t really do that much. Tomorrow might be a trip to Ise, I’ll see how the mood takes me…. Sayonara!


  1. Meagus
    January 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time Uncle Matt, but of course we expected nothing less!! Oh yeah…keep me one of those hotcake kitkats!!!!

  2. szotdogs
    January 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Are you glowing yet?

  3. AyakoGlen
    January 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Hey Matt. Was an absolute joy to spend time with you in Japan. Hope you are eating less now. Will see you in Berwick … and also check out the Mosburger Kit Kat too (not a special flavour but is just rich white chocolate with special Mos Burger packaging). We got some for you, so you can see when we see you next.

    Safe travels and will catch you soon.

    Glen, Ayako & Masato

  4. January 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    So good to hear that you are having a great time, eating your way around Japan. Also, Happy New Year

  5. January 9, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Oh the Rilakkuma Hotcake kit kat sounds extra yummy. Hopefully you have some left when you get back and you’re willing to share 🙂


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