I spent 4 days in Kyoto during may, and it was my first time actually staying in Kyoto, after going to that place several times on day trips. All those day trips let me tired and frustrated and I wanted to know why everyone was all about Kyoto so I used the week I had from not being able to WWOOF to stay there and try to find out what is so exceptionnal about Kyoto.
I climbed Fushimi Inari Taisha twice on the same week. My first time was with friends during the day and made me realize it’s really not hard so I decided to go back to see how was that place at night. After a day of cycling, roasting in the sun, walking and trying virtual reality headsets I took my rental bicycle to the South of Kyoto to see that shrine montain again.
I arrived a bit before sunset and the place was already way quieter than how it is during the day. I suppose most people assume it closes at 5 like most temples but it’s actually open 24/24 and it’s a really good idea to go late because it’s lit up. All the shops ans food places are closed though.
The sunset and relative absence of people is giving a really special atmosphere to that mountain. I’ve also seen a lot of cats, like the one above I spent 10 minutes taking pictures of.
I suck at distance estimation because i never look at the time but a bit after halfway to the top there’s a nice view on Kyoto. That’s also where the super depressing map is. That maps telling you you walked nothing since you passed the last checkpoint. That map is lying to you. You shouldn’t stop there but take right at the next crossing and the rest is really easy and short. I was afraid walking there at night would be a bit dangerous because of the dark but it’s pretty well lit up so it doesn’t feel like you’re gonna fall and die.
My camera’s battery was dying so I didn’t take enough time to take good pictures. I also dropped my phone somewhere in the stairs when I was squatting to take pictures and realised when I arrived at the top of the mountain because I’m really smart (or maybe because I wanted to take a picture of the “top of the mountain” sign to post it on snapchat) . But because it’s Japan, a cute couple who saw me putting all my stuff from my bag on the floor to look for my phone found it for me 5 minutes after, when a french baker was offering to look for it with me.
Except for the phone incident and the mosquitos ready to feast on me everytime I stopped to take a picture I really loved being there at night. The atmosphere is really different and more mysterious. I actually not secretely want to go back at night when it’s raining, because rainy mountain/forests are the best, even if you could slip and die. Maybe that’s why they feel so mysterious.