We first visited a nearby shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was just two train stops south. The shrine sits at the foot of Inari mountain and is famous for its thousands of red torii, which wind up the trail up the mountain. The shrine included many depictions of foxes (kitsune), which are known as messengers.
|View of the shrine from the Inari train station -- quite close!|
|Kitsune in front of the shrine|
|Another kitsune in front of the shrine building|
|One of the tsuka|
|Those are octopus balls|
|Fish-shaped pastries to fill with sweet things|
|Some sort of...pancake?|
Some of the group visited the local shrines and shops first, but we joined Keiko for lunch under the cherry blossom trees along the Uji River and then settled in to try to do some sketches and painting of the local scenery. Afterwards, we made our way to the tea shops, a furoshiki shop, and then back to the train.
|The Lady Murasaki|
|View along the Uji River|
|Our lunch spot|
|The end result|
|Kim sketching under the trees|
|View from the path as we walk toward the tea part of town|
|Grinding up the green tea to make matcha|
|The street of tea shops!|
|Matcha for sale|
|And a perfect parking spot for Jettas|
|My giant bowl of ramen (actually size "medium")|
|Kim with her ramen and cold oolong tea. |
She won the ramen eating contest and was actually the only one to finish the whole bowl.