On our last day in Kyoto before heading to Osaka, Mr. Misadventures and I visited Fushimi Inari Shrine. It’s located on the outskirts of Kyoto but is super easy to get to as the entrance is just outside the JR (train) Nara Line Inari Station, literally a 5-minute ride from Kyoto Station.
The shrine is beautiful and very, very orange(!). And in the early morning when the light hits it, it is gorgeous!
It is one of the most popular shrines in Japan, so go early or at dusk. You beat the crowds and can easily take photos without catching people in them (unless you want to).
Everything shone in the sunlight!
Because while Mr. Misadventures took photos of the shrine from every possible angle, I did my usual people watching.
And admiring the fancy temple clothes.
You have probably seen at least one photo in your lifetime from this shrine. With over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates that wind through the hills behind the main shrine, it’s really what makes this shrine so much different from any other.
You can take thousands of shots (I am sure we did) but in the end, except for the direction the gates are turning, they all start to look the same!
It is one of the oldest shrines, founded in 711 AD and is dedicated to the god of rice and sake. The shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountain and if you can make it up the trails along the mountainside you’ll not only see many smaller shrines and graveyards but also gorgeous views of Kyoto. The trails span 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) and takes about 2 hours to walk up (up, literally!).
There are fox (kitsune) statues everywhere. They are said to be the messengers of the inari gods and there is usually a key (for the rice granary) in their mouths.
Along the trails up the hillside, there are small restaurants where you can eat Kitsune Udon (“Fox Udon”), a noodle soup topped with pieces of fried tofu, and of course Inari sushi. We were there too early to enjoy any of these specialties.
The graveyards are very eerie to walk through in the early morning, some areas with a little mist, others super dark. Wherever they occurred there were torii gates everywhere.
We saw maintenance workers hauling them off to unknown parts…
They were laying and hanging from everywhere!
I could not have asked for a better temple/shrine for our last day in Kyoto. All the temples we visited were spectacular, each with its own unique characteristics. With over 2000 temples there is so much more to explore and I hope to go back and visit soon.
How about you? Have you ever visited a historical site that had a distinctive attribute like Fushimi Inari’s orange torii gates?