Japan Trip 2010 – Day 12

We woke up around 6, did a little tweeting and headed to the station to drop our luggage in a coin locker. The previous day we saw that in the middle of the day every single coin locker is taken up, so we were a little worried about how soon they fill up. Turns out that early in the morning they’re all empty so we had our choice of what locker we wanted.

Day 12
Someone in Japan did their homework. This was the most American looking bar I saw while in Japan.

After dropping off our luggage we headed off to the Fushimi Inari shrine. I had no idea what the Inari shrine was, just that it had the Inari cat statues. Anna had asked around the tourist office how long it takes to go through and they estimated it would take 1-2 hours. When we got there, I quickly realized it was the place with the  hundreds if not thousands of Torii gates that you see so much in movies.

Day 12
Washing my hands before going into the shrine.
Day 12
I like this photo I took of the water coming out of the pipe.
Day 12
Ohhhhh, THAT shrine.

Because of the size, stairs and also how pretty it is, Fushimi Inari shrine is popular for people exercising in the morning. We saw several joggers and some high school students. My left knee still hurt from the Shiratani Unsuikyo trip but I still went for it. The first section was no problem but later there were quite a few stairs.

Day 12
Dude is ready to run through.
Day 12
Turn around and you see the names of people and companies who donated money.

Anna was tired because she doesn’t like climbing stairs, but I was doing ok even though my knee really hurt. I toughed out out though, and I’m glad I did because it really was one of the most visually striking things I saw in Japan. I figured out a system where if I walked with one foot on the steps and the other on the incline next to the stairs I could climb and keep the stress on my bad knee to a minimum.

Day 12
Stairs...
Day 12
An inari statue.
Day 12
What can I say? I like macro images and water.

Also after Jomon-sugi I felt like I could climb anything despite my injured knee. We smiled at each other whenever we saw young people climbing with one or two walking sticks because this was seriously nothing compared to Yakushima. For a trail in Yakushima walking sticks make a lot of sense, but for a bunch of stairs? I wish my knee didn’t hurt, otherwise I would’ve done a lot of running through the gates like you always see in movies shot there.

Day 12
Going down stairs not as bad as going up, but I still had to go easy on my knee.
Day 12
Anna taking some photos.

Next we headed back to Kyoto to get the bus to the Golden Pavilion. We were worried about how crowded it would be. It was crowded but not as bad as I thought it would be. I remembered hearing that the Golden Pavilion could only be seen from one angle and that people are packed in like sardines. But it turned out it was nothing like that at all. There was plenty of room to walk around and you can get pretty close to it.

Day 12
Dude agrees it's tacky, but it could've been even tackier.
Day 12
Pretty, but tacky.

The Golden Pavilion wasn’t as tacky as I thought it would be. Whenever you see it on postcards and stuff it’s a over saturated very gawdy and yellowy gold. The thing about the Pavilion is that once you see it, you’ve seen it. This was one of the most touristy places we went to, but I’m glad that I don’t feel the need to ever go again. After we took our photos there wasn’t much more to do. We ended up taking more photos of the red foliage.

Day 12
I thought it was funny that Anna's hair was the same color as the foliage.
Day 12
This photo hasn't been photoshopped or enhanced. Yup, it was really beautiful.

Oh, and the bathroom there was easily the worst bathroom I used during our entire trip. It had a really bad pee smell, it felt dirty and there wasn’t any toilet paper. There was a toilet paper vending machine at the entrance, but thankfully I didn’t need it. Even the vending machine looked dirty.

We finished that trip pretty quickly and headed back to Kyoto station. For our trip to Shizuoka we bought an ekibento and another Seven-Eleven onigiri so that we could take photos of how this amazing rice ball technology keeps the seaweed crispy until it’s ready to be eaten.

Day 12
My delicious ekiben.
Day 12
First pull the tab at the top and rip it all around.
Day 12
Then pull the sides, releasing the seaweed and putting it on top of the rice ball.
Day 12
you can see on the plastic there was another layer separating the seaweed from the rice.
Day 12
Wrap the seaweed along the sides.
Day 12
Nice and crispy riceball!

When we got to Shizuoka we dropped our luggage off at another coin locker and had to go one more stop to the Gundam. When we got there we could already see it through the windows in the distance! I’ve only seen the Gundam movies so I’m not a fan like Anna, but I do love me some giant robots so of course it was still amazing to see.

Day 12
View of the Gundam from the station.
Day 12
Gundam seen from outside the station.

Of course I wish I could’ve touched it, but obviously they wouldn’t allow that. I was surprised that there was no admission fee. It seemed like a no brainer to at least charge a little something to get in. I wasn’t complaining though. We got our photo taken with the Gundam and then spent probably the next hour taking photos from every single possible angle.

Day 12
Now they have to make a Zaku!
Day 12
Family posing with their foam beam sabers.
Day 12
Gundams aren't the biggest robots in anime, but it's still awesome.

By the time we finished it was already getting dark and the spotlights were turned on. Also, the Gundam’s eyes were turned on and some of the lights on the body were on too. I just wish I could’ve seen it with its saber illuminated. We did spend quite a while there especially considering there wasn’t much to do. It was just so pretty and looked very well made with cool shiny materials. Also, every single section was covered in caution signs which seemed like a nice touch.

Day 12
Dude and Gundam.
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My name is Derek and I approve of this Gundam.
Day 12
If only the jets worked.
Day 12
You can see caution text on every inch.

After we finished it was starting to get late so we headed back to the station to go back to Tokyo. I was pretty tired because this was definitely a very packed day with a lot of sightseeing and travel. When we got back to Tokyo we were so tired that we picked up some instant ramen at the Seven-Eleven by Anna’s brother’s apartment.

Day 12
Mmmm, instant ramen never looked so good.
Day 12
Well, we've eaten Ippudo branded ramen, but I think we still have to have the real thing at some point.

I messed up the preparation a bit because I put ingredients in the wrong order and also forgot to time how long the noodles were soaking in the water for. It was still very good! In fact I’d say the broth flavor was even better than some very average ramen that I’ve had in NYC. I’m not sure what the nutrition value is like compared, but it was definitely very tasty. We made sure to buy more before we left.

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