Journeys in Japan Pt 7
- The spirits must be guiding me -
On my second to last day in Kyoto I made general plans with Simon (the friend I made a few nights back) to do a dusk hike at the Fushimi Inari shrine, which is the long winding series of red torii gates running up a mountainside. Unfortunately the only way we could communicate was via e-mail, and Simon could only access the internet when connected to wi-fi (those who’ve been to Japan will know that wi-fi connections are a rare commodity), so my message telling him to meet me at the station was not received.
Hours earlier while he was taking a nap I had sent him an e-mail saying I would be going to the shrine, but I decided to take a detour first and explore Kyoto station, which has a large shopping market in it’s basement with fresh food vendors and various small takeout booths. The food was amazingly delicious looking and I had trouble choosing, but finally decided on some okonomiyaki. I settled on the stairs of the station to eat, and after about an hour and half since I had e-mailed Simon I set out for Inari. I waited at the front of the station, and after about 30 minutes I started to realize that he probably didn’t get my e-mail, meaning he was already out and about. I figured there would be a decent chance that he was either on his way to Inari, or he was already up on the path. After eating an ice cream and waiting another 30 minutes, I decided to get the show on the road.
After about 30 minutes of hiking, I hear someone call out my name behind me. By all the amazing coincidences, it’s Simon - and somehow he had chosen the exact same route to take as me (there are several forks in the path). Fitting with the trend of crazy coincidences and impeccable circumstances that made up my trip in Kyoto, I suppose in a way I wasn’t surprised we were able to meet up.
After hiking Inari we said our goodbyes. Simon would be leaving Kyoto for Tokyo the next day, and although our paths were splitting here, we would both be in Tokyo at the same time during the final leg of our trip, so we knew we would meet up again for one last night on the town. I headed straight to an onsen in northern Kyoto that I had read about, and it turned out to be one that I had visited with new friends when I first visited Japan in 2005. Will the coincidences ever stop?
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