Fushimi Inari Shrine

Situated in Fushimi-ku, about 2km south-east of Kyoto station, the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is said to originate from the Hata clan’s worship of the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. As centuries went on, the god also became known as the one to ensure prosperity in business. People often call it “Oinari-san,” and is the head shrine of no less than 30,000 Inari branch shrines nationwide today.

3The Fushimi Inari-taisha has drawn countless businessmen to worship here, especially at the first prayers of the New Year. After all, Oinari-san is the god of prosperity. Visitors may be overwhelmed by over 5,000 orange-colored torii gates standing on the approach that were donated and inscribed by worshippers thankful for their prosperity.


The shrine is also characterized by dozens of statues of foxes, which are considered to be messengers of the god. In Japanese mythology, foxes can be both a force of good and a force of evil. However, the foxes from Fushimi Inari are good-natured and divine. A fox’s power is determined by how many torii gates there are on the shrine’s property. It is said that messenger foxes have to jump over all their shrine’s torii gates every day, thus becoming stronger. The more gates a shrine has, the more a fox has to jump. Fushimi Inari has the most gates of all the Inari shrines, making the foxes here the strongest.

The sanctuary consists of several buildings, including the Sakura-mon Gate and Go-Honden Shrine, followed by a 4km tunnel trail with thousands of torii gates that stretches to the top of Mt. Inari. These tunnel gates have become very famous as they’ve been featured in movies such as “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

4Additionally, there are small restaurants and shops along the street to the shrine, where you can try the shrine related dishes such as kitsune udon (fox udon), a noodle soup topped with pieces of fried tofu that is said to be fox’s favorite food, and inari sushi, fried tofu wrapped around sushi rice. Of course you cannot leave without buying a fox-themed souvenir.


A 5-minute ride from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Line Inari Station and a short walk from Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station

Stand up for cheap, fast and good food!



While walking and eating, or even walking and drinking, was frowned on in Japan just 20 years ago, now, standing while eating is something people queue up for! And we’re not just talking about the salaryman staple of standup soba. From sushi, steak, yakiniku to even Italian and French cuisine, Japanese restaurants are packing in the crowds by throwing out the chairs!

So why would anyone stand in a queue, only to stand again inside the shop? Well, thinking on one’s feet, the answer is: good, fast and cheap food.
The steak chain, Ikinari Steak (which means ‘suddenly steak’), has expanded rapidly since opening in Ginza in December 2013.


You choose your cut of meat, which is priced from 5.5 yen per gram, which means you can get a 300gram slab of sizzling steak on a hotplate for just 1,650 yen.



Standing sushi has been around longer, and is still popular as a choice in between conveyor belt and real sit down, itamae sushi.


Meat lovers will be happy to know that there’s also standing yakiniku to choose from, so now you can stand and cook your own meal!


As most customers leave after finishing their meal, these standing dining establishments can afford to charge lower prices for higher customer traffic. Which explains why this trend has spread to almost every cuisine – including Italian and French!


In fact, ‘Ore no French’ (which translates literally into ‘My French’) was listed in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015 ? after all, it’s chefs hail from Michelin-starred restaurants. And ‘Ore no Kappou’, also in Ginza, now gives you the option of enjoying fine Japanese cuisine dining without burning a hole in your pocket. 


So, don’t stand on ceremony, come check out these establishments!


Restaurant information:
Name: Ikinari Steak
Price range: $$
Location: Various locations throughout Tokyo
Website: http://ikinaristeak.com/


Name: Ore no French Ginza
Price range: $$
Location: 8-7-9 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.oreno.co.jp/en/restaurant/


Name: Ore no Kappou
Price range: $$
Location: 1F, 8-8-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://hitosara.com/0006018359/ (Japanese)



Omotenashi In A Ramen Bowl


One of Japan’s biggest assets is its hospitality and the quality of service. Japanese people’s meticulousness and proactive ideas are surely a source of Japan Inc.’s promising brand. In fact, this philosophy is transcended and submerged to a course of day-to-day activities in Japan. Let’s cite an example that shows this trait.

This is a bowl of ramen noodle from TENKAIPPIN, a Kyoto-based ramen chain, known for its super-thick (viscous) soup. This thick soup has got very dense flavor (that’s why customers tend to order a small bowl of rice with ramen so they can dip rice into the soup and eat it.) and they tend to drink it up until the last drop. When the last drop of soup is finished something emerges on the very bottom of the ramen bowl.


A sentence, “We’ll be looking forward to your visit again tomorrow.” Good surprise is surely one of the core ingredients to gain attention of customers, and ultimately leads to loyalty. But, considering having this thick soup 2 days in row – you might want to consider taking Alka-Seltzer before you hit the next round.



One of the most popular Ramen restaurant chains, famous for its thick soup.



Nikko Sightseeing: Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenji-ko in Japanese) is a scenic lake in Nikko National Park. It was created 20,000 years ago when Mt. Nantai (2,484 m) erupted and blocked the river. Lake Chuzenji’s shores are mostly undeveloped and forested except at its eastern end where is the small hot spring town of Chuzenjiko Onsen.


The lake is especially alluring in mid to late October, when the autumn leaves reach their peak along the shores and surrounding mountains. The Chuzenjiko Skyline road offers you a panoramic view from the hill.

R_Chuzenjiko photo AC (1)

Visitors can also take a boat tour which takes an hour to go around the lake.

R_Chuzenjiko photo AC (3)

In the vicinity area, there are some other sightseeing sites such as the Futarasan-jinja Shrine, which is a part of the Toshogu Shrine complex, and Ryuzu (Dragon Head) Waterfall.

Futarasan-jinja shrine tower gate

The name of the falls comes from its shape, which resembles the head of a dragon. This waterfall is one of the most famous autumn leaves destinations in Nikko.

Ryuzu waterfall


Fishing are quite popular in the lake, and many restaurants in the area serve trouts caught from the lake. During the autumn color season, traffic can be very busy around this area. Thus visiting during weekdays is recommended. Lake Chuzenji Boat Cruise cruises depart from the pier in Chuzenjiko Onsen. You can take a 10min. shuttle across the lake to Chuzenji Temple (150 yen) or a 60min. round course (1,500 yen).


Address: 2478-21 Chugushi, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
Phone: 0288-55-0360 (Chuzenjiko-Kisen)
Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Closed : Dec. through Mar.

[ Information ]
From Nikko:
Take the Tobu bus bound for Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen to Chuzenji Onsen bus stop. (50min.)
A 2-day pass for unlimited bus rides between Nikko and Chuzenjiko Onsen is available for 2,000 yen at Tobu Nikko station.