We woke up early to head to the train station to Fushimi Inari Taisha. We bought food first, which my favorite thing was to got to 7-11 and buys sandwiches! They are super delicious and super cheap. We also went to a waffle cart. The train was packed of people off to work and school. It was only two stops from Kyoto station, and right off train. We hiked up the entire path! The whole thing is lined with torii gates – we were so enamored the moment we arrived we took most our pictures at the front of the trail. It is number one for Trip Advisor Kyoto! The hike was a bit strenuous at times and we realized the main lookout point was in the middle and not the top… So back down we went. The best was at the lookout the boys wanted to do a jumping picture. The first time they jumped a group of Japanese women burst out laughing. Definite highlight. On the way back down Stu went on his own path so we lounged around until we finally met up. The entire trip we had two mifi devices to have wifi whenever we needed which was great for directions, restaurant reviews and Instagram! But not useful if the group that takes off forgets to take one… Leslie found this amazing ramen shop for lunch called Chuka Soba Umiya. It was small and it had terrific food. They did not speak any English, which most restaurants there was usually someone that did. Makes me feel like it was more authentic. We had tons of food and drinks for about $10 a person.
Next we took the local train to Nara, which was a slower but beautiful country side ride. When we arrived we went to the visitor center at the station and the woman was super helpful. We started out by walking through center of town, by shops, temples and big pagoda. We went to the deer park, which the city is famous for. The deer are pretty domesticated, but will headbutt you if you aren’t feeding them fast enough! Thomas worked on his deer selfie for awhile. We then went to the Isuien Garden, which is traditional and gorgeous. We also hit up the other Nara highlight, the big Buddha temple Todai-Ji. It is the world’s largest wooden building and the giant Buddha inside was so impressive. The Buddha’s hand is bigger than I am! We walked back to station and wait for the rapid train back, which took 45 minutes.
We headed home after a long day and went back to the train station for a grill restaurant where I had a delicious steak. We got a nightcap at the Irish bar, where a kid from New Zealand chatted up the boys, while Leslie and I snuck home to do some laundry and go to bed early. The rest of the guys came home after midnight. A very long and adventurous day!