Happy new year from Kyoto
This is salted fish on a stick. Mackerel, I believe. It made me very happy.
We ate it next to this barbecue pit, on a bench, inside a tiny market stall in Fushimi Inari. That’s where we went for new year’s eve.
As you can see, we invited a few thousand of our closest friends to come with.
Seriously, the crowds were massive. There were cops there to ensure things didn’t get out of hand. They seemed like nice cops, though. Apparently if you ask nicely, they’d help you take photos.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is a Shinto shrine at the base of a 233m mountain. Actually, it’s one of many, many shrines, all dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Scattered (understatement) throughout the grounds are statues of kitsune (foxes, Inari’s messengers) and bright red torii gates.
We walked up the Senbon Torii (thousands of gates) trail. It felt like forever. There were several rest areas on the way to the top, but no matter how far up they were, every map would say “YOU ARE HERE” in the same spot.
A Japanese friend once told me that her culture’s definition of hell was being stuck in an infinite loop of doing the same thing. I wondered if I had fallen into that loop.
Finally, we emerged at what seemed to be the top of the walkway – top of the mountain, maybe? – and saw many, many things. Statues, small shrines, tiny shrines, bigger but still humbly sized shrines, stone things, wood things, twisted paper, tiny torii gates. It was lovely and peaceful, even with small groups of people milling around.
It was lovely. Four minutes to midnight by the time we settled in for a breather. Could hear the countdown from people around us, down the mountain, and presumably at the bottom too.
Our new year view.
And then, the way home.
Happy new year, everyone. :)