Torii (entrance gates to shrines) at Fushimi-Inari Taisha

There are hundreds upon hundreds of Torii
lining the pathway taking you to the top of the
mountain, with various smaller shrines on
the way up.

Statues of foxes feature strongly at the shrines,
the fox being the messenger of Inari, the god of
cereal grains.  Culture, see?

It's not all temples and shrines in Kyoto - there is a fun boat ride on the Hozu river, with occasional patches of white water

There's plenty to look at along the way,
particularly the wildlife...

... and even mid-cruise refreshments.  A double-whammy
of tasty snacks and a free tow through the
slower-flowing parts of the river.

Never let it be said that Japanese tourism isn't
neatly packaged...

Back to the cultural stuff - seeking enlightenment at Ryoan-ji temple, founded in 1450 and belonging
to the Rinzai school of Zen.  15 rocks in a raked bed of sand is the highlight.

Hardly the tranquil scene its creator imagined, I'm sure - it certainly draws the crowds.  The cynic in me screams "it's just a load
of rocks" - yet there is an intangible quality that does draw you in.  Maybe I'm on the first steps to enlightenment?

There are definitely two sides to Kyoto, the old
and the new.  Fortunately, they sit together
in harmony.  This is the old:

And this is the new

Cherry blossom viewing and photography could
almost be a national sport in Japan...

... but some take it slower than others.