Bedeviled by deadlines and anxiously seeking to persuade a Governor who seems deaf to the appeals of even the business community, travel blogging has long been on hiatus. A year ago today, we had already been in Kyoto a few days and that fact has cast our minds and hearts back. And though memory may cloud, it is fortified with over nine thousand photographs, a set of rails ever ready to take us back on a journey again.
The previous day, we had traveled to Osaka, but today our destination was much closer, a legendary shrine in the mountains surrounding Kyoto. We arose that morning, not early enough to outrace the heat, and caught a local train to Fushimi Inari, shrine to the patron Kami of rice and business. If you are not familiar with the shrine, then your first image, perhaps a series of ornate buildings in traditional Japanese architectural style and likely painted orange, is not wrong per se. It is just radically incomplete because behind those initial buildings is Mount Inari.
There is a trail up that mountain, one with smaller shrines, innumerable small memorials, twists and turns, steps, and troops of often paired fox statues, the later being the messengers of the shrine's patron. But remember, this is a lead shrine to one who blesses business in a country that for a time gave America a run for her money on commerce and that has been built up over a thousand years. Here devotion is not paid through a cavernous prosperity gospel mega-church but through thousands of torii gates surrounding pilgrims on the ascent to the summit.
Stay tuned for the hike itself, undertaken on perhaps the hottest day of 2014 we experienced in either Japan or the United States.