Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is one of Japan’s most famous — and most-visited — shrines. It’s an important Shinto shrine located in southern Japan, and it’s famous for its thousands of torii gates. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. As foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, there are many fox statues around the shrine grounds.
This shrine’s origins are ancient: it predates the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.
This wasn’t my first trip to Kyoto. I visited Arashiyama with my friend and parents first! However, this was my first trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine. It was absolutely beautiful. There’s something so humbling about standing in a place that has seen thousands of years and hundreds of thousands of footsteps. Maybe even millions. It makes you feel small.
The hike to the summit of the mountain and back takes about 2-3 hours, so my boyfriend at the time and I only went about 30 minutes in before turning around. I was a little sick, and it was also really cold and starting to rain, so we decided that it’d be better to only go a little bit instead of trying to accomplish the full 2-3 hour loop.
The torii gates along the entire trail are donations from individuals and companies, and on the back of each gate you can find the donor’s name and the date of donation. A smaller gate is around ¥400,000 ($4,000) and a large gate increases to as much as ¥1,000,000 ($10,000). 😯 This is Senbon Torii (千本鳥居), or “thousands of torii gates.”
We also had the opportunity to see bits and pieces of nature, like this little lake.
There weren’t too many people on the trail, so sometimes it felt like our own private world among the gates. It was really nice! I think the less than stellar weather kept people from making the climb, especially since the gates become less dense the further up the mountain you go. People come for the lines of gates, so as the gates thin so do the crowds.
The route we chose to take on the way back brought us near some really neat shops and architecture, so I couldn’t resist taking pictures. This was one of my favorite spots — the bright red of the bridge as well as the simple background of a home is really beautiful to me. It’s a mix up of modern and traditional Japan. ❤️
I really hope I can return to Fushimi Inari Taisha someday and take more photos. It’s such a beautiful place! This time I focused more on enjoying the spot than taking photos, so I only took a few that I could share with friends and family before putting my phone away to take in the sights.0