Unlike food, clothes and a roof above our heads, travel is not usually considered a necessity of life, but it is certainly is one of the things that makes life worth living. To have the privilege of travel is to expose oneself to unpredictability, but within it, we also open ourselves up to discovering wonder and awe.
Fushimi Inari Taisha- shrine dedicated to the rice god, who also happens to be the patron god of businesses, merchants, and manufacturers. Each torri (gate) leading to the outer shrine has been donated by a Japanese business. It is said that each one is erected after a wish has been granted. It is worth noting, whether you believe in these things or not, that there were a great number of torii (gates) at the shrine compounds.
Traveling for pleasure is akin to putting chunks of words into paragraphs; a brief pause in the overwhelm, not entirely necessary, however offering a much needed respite from the monotony.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
This month, I was fortunate to have spent a brief, albeit all-too-short time in Japan. We made sure to be in Kyoto as the ancient city gears itself up towards the climax of Obon in the height of summer- a traditional Buddhist festival to honour and commemorate one's ancestors, which also, as we soon would learn, marks one of the biggest holidays in Japan.
A lot have been said about where to go, what to see, and perhaps most importantly, what to eat, that I won't delve too much deeper into it here. This blog was never meant to be a guide, and there are sites and blogs which do an amazing job at those things.
Kiyomizu Dera - Pure Water Temple- so named for the waterfall within the complex. The main building is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple's veranda, or 'stage' as the Japanese call it, juts out the side of the mountain supported by 13-meter-high wooden columns. It is worth noting that there wasn't a single nail used in building the shrine.
What I will share instead, is my personal take on Tokyo and Kyoto- the two cities we visited- , and a not unbiased view on all accounts, skewing heavily towards, naturally, snacks and street food.
Wandering the back streets of Ninenzaka leading to Gion, at the magical hour of dusk