Thursday, 22 February 2018

No.1 Foreign Tourists' Attraction in Kyoto City

EMU JR West 221 series stands at Kyoto Station on the Nara Line

The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan has been increasing. According to the Japan National Tourist Organization, the aggregate number of inbound tourists in 2017 totaled 29 million, which was a record-breaking increase by as much as 19 % on a year-to-year basis.

One of the popular areas for foreign sightseers is Kyoto, which is located about 500 km west of Tokyo. Specifically, Fushimi-inari-taisha Shrine is the number one foreign tourists' attraction in the city. It is undoubtedly a must-see spot surrounded by a deep forest, but I didn't understand why that place was so popular among foreign tourists, to be honest.

Recently, I found that the "kanji (Chinese letters)" on the "torii gates" in Fushimi-inari-taisha attracts foreigners. According to some websites, foreign tourists admire the black-colored kanji engraved on the vermillion-colored torii gates. It might be cool for them. That's why foreign tourists flock to Fushimi-inari-taisha.

If you plan to visit this popular spot, I recommend you take the JR West Nara Line. It takes only five minutes from Kyoto Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. The Nara Line was once "the kingdom of the EMU 103 series". Many sets of light green-colored 103 series trains were frequently operated, but it has been gradually replaced by the EMU 221 series. Although the 221 series is comfortable to ride in than that of the 103 series, I am sad that my familiar 103 series is disappearing on the Nara Line.

We cannot go against the current of the time.

Torii gates of Fushimi-inari-taisha Shrine near Inari Station on the JR West Nara Line