Back to my last trip to Osaka and Kyoto. Of course when you go to Kyoto, you have to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine ! Dedicated to the Shinto god of rice and agriculture, Inari, a thousand+ torii gates line a 2-3 hour hike up to the top of Inariyama and back. Fushimi Inari in Kyoto is the head Inari shrine of Japan, thus its significance and its extravagance.
The most famous spot in the shrine is the “Senbon Torii”, meaning thousands of Torii gates. Actually, this shrine has about ten thousands Torii gates from the main shrine (hall) to the mountain behind.
Table of Contents
Getting to Fushimi Inari Shrine
The official address is Fushimi Inari Shrine is 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan. The nearest train station is Fushimi Inari station on the Nara Line. This station is actually just 2 stations or about 5 minutes from Kyoto Station. It was pretty easy for us to reach the Shrine from Osaka where we are staying at the Holiday Inn Shin-Osaka too. A day trip if you will. And we visited the Kiyomizu-dera before coming to the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
And once you get out of the station, it is just a very short walk (along streets of vendors selling stuff to tourists) to get to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Don’t worry. Unlike other countries, there aren’t many sleazy vendors or any of the typical nastiness you might get at a place with lots of tourists. What you do get is, well, lots of tourists… I mean, really lots of tourists.
You can see many orange Tori Gates along the way
The front of Fushimi Inari shrine
A short walk and you can reach the front of the shrine.
Of course, there will be the usual wish making stuff which is super good for people like me. I love making wishes. Whether it comes true or not, is a separate issue 🙂
Follow the crowd to the highlight of the Shrine 🙂
And there is a map to the whole grounds
The Senbon Torii or where the instagram photos are
The Senbon Torii (the thousand torii gates) is where we came to Fushimi Inari for. You know show off in our Instagram photos 🙂
Shooting at the Senbon Torii is hard enough due to the small pathways. However, especially at the start of the trail, it’s challenging to achieve images with no one (or just you) in them. You can try really hard to wait for no one but honestly it is tough (as you can see from my photos).
As you go higher and higher, then it gets easier and easier 🙂
I did tried.
Some back ground of each gate. Each torii gate is donated by a Japanese business in an offering towards business prosperity. They cost between 400,000 yen and 2 million yen depending on the size, and the donor’s name and date are inscribed on the back of each gate.
Oh I actually reached the Fushimi Inari quite late in the afternoon. Evening time actually. So as we walked higher and higher, it gets darker and darker. At a certain point, it got too tiring for my kids and also get a little creepy. Even though some lights do turn on within the Senbon torii. So we did not go up all the way to the top of the walk. Which is a waste. You might want to come in the mornings to do so 🙂
I feel that Fushimi Inari Torii Gates reminded me a lot of the Miyajima Island’s Itsukushima Shrine Torii Gate. One is on land. The other is on sea.
Should you go to Fushimi Inari
Of course you should if you are going to Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Shrine is best when there are fewer people, which is typically on weekday mornings. During the early hours, there are certainly fewer people.
Unless you are going all the way to the top, you might not need much time. You should try to get to at least the Yotsutsuji lookout. After that, you can probably give it a skip if you want to. If you have more time, do try to spend more time on the rest of the shrines back on the ground level which are fantastic to roam around too.
After all, a trip to Kyoto is a must to take it slow… don’t rush 🙂