Day 116 – Kyoto, Japan

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After finishing some travel “housekeeping,” I took the train to the Fushimi-Inari shrine. This Shinto shrine is one of the most well-known in the world due to the iconic torii gates that are lined up. They appear on every travel blog and Instagram from all over the world.

I knew this was a must-see attraction, so it was to no surprise that when I arrived around noon, it was already packed with tourists. The huge crowd of people was enough to already put me off ease, but combine that with the insufferable heat, and I just about wanted to cry. I literally laughed out loud at the amount of sweat that was dripping from my drenched t-shirt.

Walking through the torii gates was a great experience, however, it was nearly impossible to snap a good photo with all the people around. Still, I managed (with a lot of waiting). As soon as I walked through the gates and came back around, I headed straight for the exit to escape the mass of people. But I had another quick glance at the map and realized I had completely skipped the back end of the park. So I climbed back up the steps, walked back through the gates and continued to the spot that I had missed.

Luckily, the further I got into the park, the less people there were walking around. The path went on for a kilometer or two and there were plenty of more big torii gates to photograph. Along the path, there were also lots of shrines and dog statues, restaurants, and places to buy souvenirs. I was pretty glad I decided to go back, because I really got to enjoy the experience once I left the other tourists behind.

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Since I was absolutely saturated with sweat, I decided to go back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes. The next activity planned for the day was to go to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. However, as soon as I stepped outside of my hotel, the weather took a turn for the worst. I decided to scrap the bamboo forest and spend my time and money elsewhere. Since it’s my last full day in Kyoto, I was able to go to a few shops to pick up some little souvenirs and then went to my favorite Japanese BBQ restaurant for dinner, Gyu-Kaku!

It was still early for dinner, so I was the only person in the entire place. It had started raining pretty hard outside while I was cooking my thinly sliced pork belly, marinated beef, and chicken. They even had cheese fondue, which I’m not sure if they include that on the US menu in Houston. Tomorrow I’m planning on catching a train over to Osaka for the day. Hopefully I wake up on time and the weather is on my side!

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