We wandered through the tunnels of torii and I tried to take a few photos, but there were just too many people in the way. Once we got to the end of the first major tunnel we stopped for a while and I set up my tripod.
We continued onwards and upwards and the crowds began to thin out. The shrine consists of a thousand or so torii gates that wind along paths up a hillside, with temples dotted around here and there. There were a few viewpoints from which you could see Kyoto sprawling out into the distance, the Shinkansen line snaking high above it through the middle of the city.
At the top was a large shrine with some strange red-dressed animal figures, not just the usual dogs.
As we neared the bottom the crowds had all gone and it was far more pleasant; the rain had stopped too during our walk uphill. I found a couple of empty tunnels and set up the tripod again. One had a tiny puddle allowing reflections of the gates.
When we got back to the entrance the sun came out briefly, bursting from behind thick clouds, shining a lovely pre-sunset light on the temples. I could only imagine how beautiful the torii tunnels looking with the low sunlight peaking through. A rainbow came for a few minutes. We walked back to the station, past a rather unusual building, and then took the train back towards home.
On the way home we decided to stop at a sake bar, underneath a hostel (the Jam Hostel), and made a selection of sakes to try - all a bit different and all delicious.
I tweeted a couple of photos and a very helpful person (@IncNaturalist) responded by recommending that we tried shabu shabu while we were in Kyoto. I hadn't heard of it before, so looked it up online (fortunately the sake bar had free wifi), found a recommendation for a restaurant and we headed there. We were not disappointed!
The place we found was Agotsuyu Shabu Shabu Yamafuku. We were led upstairs to a room where we sat on the floor on tatami mats (there was room for your legs under the table) and the delightful host talked us through the whole process. We ordered shabu shabu accompanied by some kyushu rokku.
pièce de résistance was the addition of yuzukushu, a citrusy spicy paste, to the dipping sauce - absolutely made the dish! We worked our way through the slices of pork and finished off by adding fresh soba noodles to the broth. The whole thing was fantastic, tasty and fun; the waiter (who was also the owner) just made it a really great experience!