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July 24, 2016 - Yutoku Inari Shrine
Yutoku Inari Shrine is located roughly 50 minutes by bus from Ureshima (920 yen one way) or 10 minutes from Kashima Bus Station. The shrine itself is meant to be one of the three main Inari Shrines in Japan - with the red Tori gates normally being a big give away. Buses leave around once an hour from Ureshino and multiple times and hour from Kashima Bus Station which is also near a train station.
Like most shrine and temple towns, lots of shops and restaurants have popped up to service all of the visitors. It looks quiet with most shops being closed - but it was around a 500 meter walk to the gate of the shrine so more shops were open the closer you got to the entrance.
If there is one thing to say about this shrine - it's that it does look pretty. It's also oddly familiar to Kiyomizudera in Kyoto but not built on such as precarious cliff face.
There were basically 3 sections to this shrine - the ground floor, the second floor (above) and the upper level which requires a 15-20 minute walk up uneven stairs. It's possible to catch a lift to the second floor - but it costs 300 yen and it's only 100 or so stairs from memory.
If you think this shrine is more bright than normal - then you would be correct. It's more in the "Nikko" type of shrine than "Ise" type of shrine.
As mentioned above, it takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the top but do keep in mind that it was the middle of summer and was stiflingly hot. During cooler weather - it may take 10-15 minutes but do note I would NOT walk up these stairs when it is wet or raining!
The majority of the climb is relatively straight forward - but the last 200 meters are quite a slog as the stairs are not even or straight.
At the base of the shrine is a small garden which can be entered for 200 yen. All I will say is that it was pretty!
For some reason - I have a thing for moss gardens.
When I lived in Australia - I would turn my nose at the thought of ever eating eel. Then one time - I was tutoring a student in Japan and the parents insisted on taking me out to lunch. After living overseas for a while at the time - I was a bit more adventurous and decided to give it a go. Now - it's one of my favourite Japanese foods. Unfortunately - it did not come with the green mild Japanese Pepper I've seen up north in Tohoku......
For my next post - I'll be focussing on two garden in Takeo Onsen.
General Information: http://www.welcomekyushu.com/event/?mode=detail&isSpot=1&id=9999900000145 (English)