Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
6am starts were all-too-regular for us in Japan and our visit to the awe-inspiring torii gates of the Fushimi Inari-Taisha began in much the same way as our trip to Arashiyama to see the bamboo forest. We did allow ourselves a half an hour lie-in but still arrived before 7am.
There were a few people around but not many and we started our walk along the trails that wind up around Mount Inari. It's a circular walk that leads a path through shrines punctuating the wooded forest and all along it are statues and dedications to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.
We LOVED the way that the Senbon Torii (translates as 'thousands of Torii gates') section played with the light and the richness in the orange colour that the wooden gates are painted.
The vista over Kyoto from one of the viewpoints along the walk. There is no astounding sight to behold at the top but I don't think that's really the point...
Sleepy cats, wooden foxes (foxes are said to be the divine messengers of Inari and there are statues everywhere) and lots of large spiders - don't worry they were in the high corners of the gates.
The whole route took us a couple of hours and we ate dango (a sweet syrupy rice kebab-type thing with peanut powder dusting on top) from a stall at the bottom.