Kyoto Shrines – FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA

There are more than 30,000 “Oinari san”, Inari Shrines in Japan. They have a red Torii gate as the entrance to the sacred area and statues of white foxes, which are messengers from “Inari”, the shinto god of harvest.
 

gates and foxes
 
Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto is the head shrine.
It is famous for the thousands of Torii gates that line the pathway all the way up to the sacred Mt. Inari – a scene featured in the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”.
These gates have been donated by people and companies who have wished for a good harvest (a financial harvest) since the Edo period, more than 300 years ago.

 

fushimi inari gates

 

This shrine was established in 711, with the main shrine that we see now, built in 1499. The main gate “Romon” was built by a famous samurai General Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1589.

 

Fushimi inari Romon  Romon           2000 fushimi inari honden  Main shrine

 

It was late afternoon when I visited Fushimi Inari, making my way up through the gates shining in the afternoon sun. 40 minutes into my journey I reached Yotsu-tsuji (a well known intersection on the walk way) where I witnessed the sun setting on a picturesque Kyoto, breathtaking.
The red lanterns lighting the pathway for my way back, provided a traditional Japan moment, peaceful and yet eerie feeling.

Like most things in Japan, the Shrine is open 24 hours a day. So to avoid crowds, I recommend an early morning or night time visit, but it might be a little bit scary…

 

fushimi inari shrine map
 

If you hike all the way to the mountain peak it takes 2-3 hours. Along the way, there are multiple smaller shrines, and restaurants which serve symbolic “Inari food” Inari sushi, and Kitsune Udon, both have Aburaage (fried thin sliced Tofu) which is thought to be a favourite food of foxes.

Many tourists turn back down the mountain at the Yotsu-tsuji intersection as the gates and interest points lessen beyond this point but it still takes about 20minutes to go back
Don’t forget to wear comfy shoes and visiting out of the hotter months, will ensure everlasting memories.
 

fushimi inari torii at night     fushimi inari ema

 


 

FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA website

ADDRESS : 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho Fushimi, Kyoto

TEL : 075-641-7331

HOURS : Always open but shops and Shrine office close at night

FEE: No Charge

ACCESS: In front of JR Nara Line Inari station, which is 5minutes ride from JR Kyoto station.

 



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