My Japan trip is well behind me. The memories have nestled themselves safely into the comfortable realm of nostalgia, where they are already torturing me with moments long gone. And just like when I landed in Salt Lake City, I’m still anxious to turn around and go back to Japan.
For my final post on my trip to Japan, I am leaving you with photos from our visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, the god of rice, in Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountain and the pathway to the top is lined with nearly 40,000 torii gates. The torii gate is used in the Shinto religion to symbolize the place where the profane transitions to the sacred.
Walking through torii after torii, going deeper and deeper into the forest, was incredibly calming. Somehow I never got bored of the repetition. There was such beauty in the contrast of the dense, green trees and the bright, orange torii.
The higher we went, the more humid and hot the weather became. We would walk off the path of the torii to find smaller shrines with messages written in stone, hugged by beautiful flowers.
As we went deeper into the forest, I began to notice stunningly large spider webs draped between the torii. And sure enough, soon I saw the stunningly large spiders themselves–the biggest spiders I’ve ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, it was at that point that I decided I’d had enough of the forest and we turned around.
Something about those torii gates in the forest has been with me ever since I left Japan. Maybe it was passing through so many gates marking the transition from profane to sacred that left a mark in my mind. Or maybe it was the calm of the forest and the reflections of my trip that I had while walking through the trees.
Japan was so much more than I ever imagined. Its beauty surpassed anything I ever dreamed I’d see. And the culture amazed me in every way possible, from the incredibly delicious food to the politeness of the people and everything in between. The connection to my cultural heritage and being able to share the entire experience with my parents was nothing short of amazing.
Needless to say, I fell in love with the country. Japan, we will meet again. Until then, thank you for a trip of a lifetime and all the moments that will forever be in my heart.