A few things I’ve noticed so far in Japan:

  • A lot of male backpackers spend way too much time in front of a mirror. Seriously, move, your hair does not need to be perfect to go visit a temple or eat sushi.
  • Japanese people will seemingly refuse to sit next to westerners on the subway even if there’s a two person gap either side, no idea why, but it’s mighty uncomfortable.
  • Convenience stores are literally the most convenient stores in the country, and need to be used for everything.
  •  No one asks what your name is until at least seven or eight other things have been sussed out, some of which include; Where are you from? Where are you going? Where have you been? How long are you travelling for? Are you doing it alone?
  • Solo travel in Japan is super easy, and recommended for everyone.

So today I needed a day off from the constant hiking everywhere. A few things intersected to make this especially well timed; the weather, and my fantasy football semi finals. It was overcast and threatening to rain outside which meant most things wouldn’t have been as beautiful as they could have been anyway. It did end up raining all day and I regret nothing. The other factor was I was attempting to get into my third straight fantasy football grand final and I deemed that important enough to rest my feet up. In case any of you care I did win, and I am onto the final.

It was a delightfully slow day and I’m really glad I took it. Sometimes the most important thing you can do when travelling like this is to let yourself recharge or it can all get a bit too much.  I even went down and enjoyed a few beers during happy our at the K’s Hostel bar. Worth it!

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But because I love all of you so much I did get off my butt and venture out into the cold world of Kyoto for a night visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine. I’d heard it was quite beautiful by night, and I wanted to see this for myself without the hustle and bustle of 10,000 other people there. I did not take a flashlight because I knew it needed to be a brief visit rather than a long drawn out affair, but if you do decide to hike the mountain PLEASE take one. After about 400 metres the lanterns stop and it’s sheer darkness up there.

Getting there is easy enough remember, just hit the Nara line from Kyoto Station and a few stops later you are there. Everything I’d heard about it was spot on, it is beautiful and haunting at night.

I had to help some Americans who were going the wrong way in the dark (and having previously got lost and scaled the thing myself I didn’t want to read about 4 dead foreigners in the rain). It was over fairly quickly, 10 minutes I’d say, but I’m extremely glad I made the effort!

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Tomorrow was going to be bigger and better, and my body thanks me for the rest.