Fushimi Inari: The spookiest yet most awesome shrine I've ever been to.
So I dusted off my Lonely Planet Japan book and decided to see what there was to see that was close by. I started browsing through the Kyoto section and soon came upon Fushimi Inari. I've heard of this place and many people have recommended it to me. So I was like "Ok, I'll check this place out." There was a note in the book that suggested an evening stroll due to the shrine's creepiness. I'm always up for doing stuff in a creepy setting so I decide to go for it. I get my shit together and head out. I get to the shrine at about 1745 and it's starting to get dark. So I start walking around and checking out the inner shrine buildings. It's a standard shrine. But there is something that sets this shrine apart: the mountain path full of Shinto gates. So I find my way to this path and start up it. It's cold, wet and getting darker by the minute and by now I'm not sure this was a good idea since I've been fighting a sinus infection. Well I press on and soon I'm in the mountains. The only sounds you can hear are the dozens of crows in the trees and the small brook that flows next to the path. It's actually pretty eerie to be walking by yourself and all you can hear are crows cawing in the darkening sky. I keep heading up the path and I see a couple people coming the other way. I eventually start entering graveyards. These are creepy with the lights and snow. Suddenly I realize that there are no more crows cawing and that makes things so quiet. I'm all alone out in this mountain path. It's really rather peaceful actually. It's pretty cold, but by this time I'm actually sweating from going up and down the mountains. Suddenly I start hearing this cat meow. That was much more creepy than the crows. It felt as if the cat was telling me to leave (Shrines are supposed to be haunted at nighttime). I eventually wind my way through some more grave yards and I'm heading back up and hopefully back home when I see something move in the trees "Oh crap" I think "It's a fox or a monkey or some demon that's going to eat me." But the thing just kinda slinked away. I think it was another cat keeping an eye on me. I finally make my way up the mountain again to the spooky summit. The area glows errily with the electric lights and the snow coming down gave it a real mystic feeling. So I head down the other way and nearly break my leg in a pot hole. I continue down and again almost succumb to a pot hole. I keep going and I step off a step into a pot hole and twist my right ankle. It's ok, but it hurts a bit. Good thing I didn't break my leg cause I'd still be up there probably. But all in all it's a great shrine and I highly recommend it.