14 2015 Jun

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Japan, KyotoTagged food, japanese gates, shrine, torii, travel

We chose to visit Shinto Shrine, famous for its rows and rows of Japanese Gates, on a Sunday. Not the best idea for someone who don’t like crowds. And boy do I not like crowds. But the weather was nice and we had little time in Japan. So off we went to this busy tourist attraction. A place I’ve always wanted to see in person.

Arriving there you get an idea of the crowds at the station stop. You’ll see people of all ages taking their Sunday to visit the shrine. At the base of the shrine felt like a night market with all the street vendors selling foods you can’t help but to raise an eyebrow at. Fried mochi on a stick? I think I’ll pass, kinda felt like county fair foods, Kyoto style. Once we made our way pass the foods to the entrance, we took a breather. Still so many people. Once you get started through the gates I had an uneasy feeling this was how the whole trek would be, elbow to elbow with tourists. But eventually we found the cause of the jam. Groups of tourists were taking pictures at the gates, especially at the split. Once we squeezed by, it was easy sailing. I wish I could have went back in time to tell people, there’s so many beautiful gates up ahead. Please disperse! Anyways, I don’t have super powers.

After finishing our tour of the shrine, I have some notes that may help you:

  • Go mid-week to lessen the crowds.
  • Along the same note, get to mid-mountain and the crowds will thin out.
  • Bring a water bottle if you plan to trek through the whole shrine.
  • Build up your appetite for some amazing unagi, eel, in town

Getting there by railway is pretty easy. Just take either the JR Nara or the Keihan line to Inari. From there it’s a quick walk to the base of the shrine. There’s no entrance fee so take your time and enjoy the scenery!

Verdict: Worth the visit.

Walk to the Shrine

Passing through town people wait for the trains to pass. We can see some hints of the gates in the distance.

Lower Temple

At the entrance you're met with the bright red colors of the shrine. It's a stark contrast against the green trees and you'll encounter this throughout the shrine. At this section you'll find plenty of people standing around for pictures.

The Torii

These are the Japanese gates that line the paths throughout the shrine. I'd say these weren't the largest, but look at how well maintained they are. That shine after enduring years of the elements? Well done.

Entering the Torii

It's quite an experience walking through the gates. I've never seen gates so close to each other. Makes you forget that you're gradually walking uphill, until you get to a clearing and find out how much you're sweating. I should have brought a change of clothes.

Under the Torii

There were smaller gates as you walk along the paths making it a tight squeeze for large groups. You'll encounter stops as people hold up the walkways for a photo. I wasn't one of them obviously. In an effort to keep the crowds moving, I took pictures as I walked.

Kitsune Statue

The fox, the messenger, can be found throughout the shrine. They are dressed in red to keep demons and illness at bay. It's common among the Japanese deities.

Numerous Buildings

You'll find many of the prayer buildings throughout the shrine. Most of them look like they're in use though I saw no monks about at any of them.

Foxy Figurines

These weren't all over the place. We found it wandering off the main path. It's little alcoves like this that made the stroll fun. Not to mention it was away from the crowds.

Balance of Man and Nature

This place is like the demonstration of how harmonious man can live among nature. Even with the stark contrasts of man-made buildings, nature creeps its was on to those structures melding them into their own scenery.

The OxPosted June 14, 2015 By the hungry ox


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