Today started out with a trek up the mountain and through the 1000 torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. Inari is the god of rice. The main shrine beyond the torii was built by Emperor Murakami in 965.
There are hundreds of sub-shrines within the grounds most of which feature the fox, which is the messenger of the shrine and often carries the key to the rice armory.
Our next stop was Kiyomizudera–the Pure Water Temple. This site was founded in 780.
Outside of the main shrine area is Zuigudo Hall, which is dedicated to Buddha’s mother and for ¥100 each, we experienced a symbolic rebirth. We traveled through a pitch black basement until we found the ever-so-slightly illuminated wishing stone in the center of the “womb.” If you touch the stone and make a wish, Buddha will grant it. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed.
After a rest back at the hotel, it was the last day of the sumo basho, after all, we headed out to Gion, the geisha district. The main area is comprised of several blocks of pre-WWII wooden buildings that are all similar in appearance.
Word on the street is that the geisha (geiko, is the more appropriate name; maiko if at the apprentice level) are fairly hard to spot. We were on the lucky side. Our final count stands at 8, most of them were maiko due to how the collars were turned on their kimono.