From the lonesome torii gate that is visible if you take that hilarious pirate ship across the Lake Ashi in Hakone to the thousands that line the sprawling network of shrines at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, this is the red-drenched counterpart to the previous green-hued and wabi sabi inspired post. As I moved from Hakone to Kyoto, the colours of autumn were also amplified. And in a city steeped in tradition – egged on by tourists or entrenched superstition and ritual – vibrant shades of red, coupled with the fall folliage, made for a post, where I get to confront a colour that also runs deep through my own Chinese culture.
As per the first post, I had an outfit companion to blend in with these fiery hues, in the form of this Mount Plaid rucksack by Coach, which is now available on their newly launched e-commerce site in the UK. Steve was a few paces behind me in our four kilometre “gentle” hike through the thousands and thousands of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, so kept on capturing my bum, the appropriately red backpack and a pair of red vintage Brady Bunch-esque flares.
It came along with me to pretty much all the pre-requisite visiting spots in Kyoto. I did finally understand why people go all gushy and misty-eyed over this city that adheres to their idea of an old Japan (spurred on by Memoirs of a Geisha and the like…) but what I appreciated the most was the way tradition wasn’t faked but instead, felt ingrained into the city. Away from the tourist-swamped spots like Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu-dera, there were still plenty of places where you can have some very still moments. In the area of Miyagawacho, I loved all the dusty-looking local shops selling prim but proper handbags and geta shoes, geared not for tourists but for residents. The upper parts of Fushimi Inari are almost ghostly with its secret shrines and kitsune statues looking over you. Ishibe Alley could be a from a film set with its secret tea houses and restaurants. Shinbashi in Gion was also deeply cinematic, and definitely preferable to Hanamikoji, where photographers prowl the streets waiting to attack potential legit geishas with their flashbulbs. And yes, the temples… the many, MANY temples. Gio-ji in Arashiyama was definitely my favourite with its moss-covered secret grotto. I didn’t have enough time to get my full-on temple groove on but I definitely have a hit list for the next time I visit Kyoto.
Now back in Tokyo in Shibuya, it’s back to increased levels of volume. And in a few days time, I’ll be in Hong Kong for an event and then back to London where a mountain of things are happening. Fashion chat will resume. Hopefully this out-of-turn two-part respite hasn’t been too disruptive.
Before I realised that it was in fact a 4k uphill trek to go through every single one of the torii gates at Fushimi-Inari-taisha – wearing Tigran Avetisayan top, vintage flares, Miu Miu sunglasses, Vans x & Other Stories slip-ons and Coach Mount Plaid rucksack
In Celine top, Comme des Garcons skirt, MO& CO jumper, Coach Mount Plaid rucksack and Vans x & Other Stories shoes at the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama
In the Gion area of Shinbashi