Fushi Inari Taisha (伏見稻荷大社)
Woke up super early again to explore Kyoto before we head to Osaka today. It's not easy to find a nice cafe this early in the morning, but we found one close to the Inari station. After yummy coffee and breakfast, we were ready for the short hike through the orange gates! The shrine sits at the base of the mountain, and the trails go through the tunnel made by hundreds of orange gates, and there are viewpoints that you can get a nice view of Kyoto. It took us around 2 hours round trip.
The earliest structures were built in 711, and got re-located in 816, and the main structure you see now was built in 1499. You really don't get to see things this old in the US. The whole city has so much history, and that's what makes this city so beautiful.
Before we headed to Osaka, we went to a famous chain ramen place called Ichiran Ramen. At the time, the Hong Kong location just opened up, and people in Hong Kong were lining up crazy to try this ramen place. While we were in Kyoto, having a bowl of ramen in Ichiran without a line, and probably more authentic than in Hong Kong. I would say, I won!
After lunch, we took the bullet train to Osaka to see the Osaka Castle. Guai lo really wants to see the Osaka castle, and that's mainly why we made such a short stop in Osaka. The castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks. Unfortunately, the original castle was destroyed in WWII, so the castle we saw was a restoration. A lot of the original historic structures in Japan were destroyed in WWII, and I found this very pitiful. *World Peace* There are two moats around the castle, and this is my first time seeing a real moat. It's hard to imagine those moats are what's keeping the castle safe back then. With the weapons nowadays, it doesn't really matter how many moats you have, one bomb, and it's all gone.
The castle itself is very pretty, and we did go inside, which turned out to be a very disappointing experience. We should have done more research before we went to Japan, then we would have known that it's just a museum inside the castle. We were expecting old architecture inside the castle as well, but turned out there's elevators, and TV screens, and all kinds of modern stuff that you would not expect to see in a castle. The park around the castle was very pretty as well! We went there in early December, so it's like the transition of fall to winter, and you can still see some color, as well as bald trees. There are little snack stands in the park around the castle, and we had some takoyaki (たこ焼き) and taiyaki (鯛焼き), which are some of my favorite Japanese street food. <3 Yum!
Then, we were trying to get to Dotonbori for some good food. There's a proverb in Japanese "Dress till you drop in Kyoto, eat till you drop in Osaka" (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ). Unfortunately, we did not make it there because we couldn't figure out how to get there. We tried to ask for directions from several people, but we just couldn't figure it out. So, we gave up (which I REGRET SO MUCH NOW), and took the bullet train to Tokyo.