Japan Day 3

day3Today was the day to hit the temples and it was COLD!!!!  It was the type of cold morning that you can see your breath form a little white puff in the air in front of you. On our way out of the house, we got a passer by to take a photo of the group before we got started. We then started walking towards the train station. We were leaving quite late, time wise by western standards but the shops were just starting to open up and get busy. The atmosphere of a new day was similar and different at the same time, it was quite exciting!  Our first stop was Fushimiinari shrine which is only a short train ride away from where we were staying.

Walking out of the station we had tobling walk up a hill to get to the shrine. On the way the boys stopped to get a Pimp my truck shot with a local blinged out truck!

As we got closer the hill got steeper! We found quite a few souvenir stores on the way up that sold an assortment of mini shrines, fox figures and local treats. We knew we were close when we came to the first of the red Torii gates. The base of the shrine had some large buildings and temples as well as some large fox statues. Inari shrine is dedicated to the god of rice, the link to the foxes is apparently the key to the grainary in their mouths. Many businesses worship this shrine for wealth, the grounds are lined with the Torii gates, each donated by a business or individual, the more you donate, the larger and more ornate the gates become!

day3-1In the main area of the temples there was a couple of stalls selling japanese wares and foods. One of the stores was selling Taiyaki! These are fish shape pancakes filled with traditionally bean paste but now includes many other flavours like chocolate and custard! We bought quite a few to try, not to be left out, Sui got one as well!
Another of the stalls was selling antique Kimono fabric and I picked up a couple of pieces to give to people when we got back. I gave some out as christmas presents but we also kept one piece of brilliant red fabric with sakura flowers that now hangs in our Kitchen. Mat bought an amazing clock with fish in it for his parents for a christmas present.

day3-2Once through the main area of the shrine we head up the hill following the path of Torii gates. These images are quite commonly used to advertise Japan tourism so are quite iconic. They were also made famous in the movie memoirs of a Geisha where the young Chiyo is filmed running carefree though the many Torii gates.

We walked for about an hour and the gates just kept on going. We stopped when we got to some mini-shirines where I took some photos of Sui before we head back to the station.  On the way back we spotted a ice-cream store which we couldnt resist (despite the fact that it was winter and still really cold!)day3-31
Our afternoon stop off was the Golden Paviliion, Ginkaku-ji.The easiest way to get there is by bus, so we caught a train to the main bus station. While still in the station we had a quick pitt stop, Matt found a local grocer and delighted the shop owners by his shock in how big the vegetables were! He was so amazed that he bought the biggest radish that they had and proceeded to carry it around like a baby for the rest of the afternoon!

When we got off the bus and started walking towards Ginkaku-ji, we watched as bus after bus pulled up and unloaded groups of tourists and school kids! It may not looked it in our pictures, but this place was one of the busiest we visited in the time we were in Japan! Even though it was busy it was extremely orderly and people waited patiently to get to the front, take their pictures and move off for other people to then do it. After the glipse of the pavillion itself people were directed off to a path that went around the building through the gardens and eventually to the exit.

day3-33On our way we were stopped by two school girls. Their assignment for the day was to find some foreigners to practice their english with. I was quite impressed with how good their english was as they asked us some questions and wrote down the answers in their notebooks. We got a picture with them before they ran back to their class.
By the time we were through the gardens it was starting to get late (by winter standards) so we knew it would get dark soon. We head back to the main street of Kyoto and went for a wander.day3-33

I had a list of the stores that I wanted to get to, so using my map we tracked down the first one, Baby the Stars Shine Bright! BTSSB is located in a department store a short way of Shijo Dori. It was my first time in a BTSSB and Aatp Store so I was really excited! Unfortunately many stores in Japan do not allow you to take pictures inside so I was not able to get a photo. A short walk away in Teramachi Dori shopping arcade we found Metamorphose, I walked past in twice before spotting it! The shop itself is on the 5th floor so was easy to miss. What you need to look for is the sign on the ground floor next to a glass case. If the case has a dress in it with a light on, then the store is open! I went up dragging the group along with me, squealed over many things with the attendant and walked out with a bag of socks. She was very sweet and allowed me to get a picture with her just outside the shop.
day3-5As a Lolita one thing you need to prepare yourself for is that in the stores you will be doted upon! The shop attendants will be happy to talk with you, get everything out and show it to you in every style, colour or size. Its very hard to walk out of a store without buying something!!
In the same arcade we also found Peace Now. This store was also located off the ground floor, so keep an eye out for a blue sign and a mannequin near some steps along the main arcade. Peace now is located on the same side further down from Metamorphose. Mimi one of the girls in a group had a ball in here and bought a pile of cute cutsews! The store attendant, though Japanese spoke english and had a very strong american accent. She chatted away with us while Mimi tried the things on. The great thing about this store is that it acually had a  fitting room, which many of the other stores do not.

We spent the rest of the evening in the arcade and had dinner at Restaurant star. There was plenty more interesting stores in the arcade to check out!

day3-4Some other recommendations; 3 coins, as the names suggests most items in the store cost 3 coins, or 300 Yen. I bought some cute fluffy hair ties, some socks and a scarf here. The shop mainly sells womens fashion and home items. Total Recycle shop is anime version of cash converters! The main exception here is that most items here are still boxed and in like new condition! I picked up some Pokemon figures here and Georgina got a massive bag of nendoroids. One other hidden Gem is Chicago, this store is a secondhand clothing chain that mainly sells retro american fashion. What most people dont know is that a select few of the stores also sell Kimonos for realy good prices. The Kyoto store has one of the largest ranges of Kimonos and fuisodes on the second floor. I spent a long time here picking out a fuisode that I brought home and hung on the wall!

day3mapkyotoMims and I finished the night off with a round of purakura, you can find these photobooths all over the place, as long as you know where to look! As it was our first time we had a little trouble working out what to do and accidently started a second round already paid for by the girls waiting outside, opps! By the time we had come out, we had about 30 seconds to decorate our pictures and select the borders for printing, hence these shots are not very blinged up!


Continue on to Japan Day 4


♥ Alyssium♥



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