Ending my Japan posts with possibly the most significant shrine in Kyoto.
Dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, Fushimi Inari Taisha's distinctive feature is the thousands of orange torii (marker of a shrine entrance) gates lining the path from the base to the top of Mount Inari.
The trail takes about an hour from base to summit.
Foxes are believed to by Inari's messengers, so fox statues can be found throughout the trails.
I made it to the top. With a 23-pound baby strapped to my back. Huff huff puff puff.
The writing on the torii gates are names of corporations that sponsored the building of the gates.
Almost anywhere I could get taiyaki, fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet beans, fruit or nutella. The taiyaki stand is almost always next to the takoyaki (ball-shaped batter filled with octopus) stand, a happy, best-of-both-worlds, sweet and savory combination.
This means there's takoyaki near by.
Every place that serves noodles uses fresh, handmade noodles. My sister-in-law Denise took us to one of her favorite udon spots in Kyoto near Kawaramachi. It's a small, simple shop that makes its own noodles so good that we had to go twice in a week.
Once you get your bowl of udon, you select your sides and toppings.
Birthday present shopping for Loli Bubut.
Photos in today's globetrotting story were taken by Dr. Ricci Sylla.
Ricci is an ObGyn by profession, and an avid, snap-happy photographer at all other times. She likes taking pictures mostly of food, but since the recent population explosion in her family, cute nieces and nephews show up much more frequently in her Picasa files. She hearts cake, ice cream, macarons, cotton candy and fancy desserts!
You can follow Ricci on Instagram.
* * *