Normally I try to take people to see Fushimi Inari shrine in the afternoon; it normally fits in between a train trip from somewhere (and hotel check-in) and dusk, and the light is good for photographs. On a sunny day the buildings and thousands of torii gates are brilliant. In different seasons, the blossom might be out, or the redeveloped garden area might be full of bright greens.
However, and it might sound strange, but some of the best visits were in the rain - especially the day it really poured. Hardly anyone was around, and I was able to get my best photos of the torii gate tunnels with no one in shot - normally reserved for professional photographers rather than snappers like myself.
This temple located not in central of Kyoto, then we have to take the JR local train from Kyoto station to Inari just 2 stop. Its a great temple unique with its smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business. There is no entrance fee for this temple
It can take 2 hours or more to wend ones way through the twisting paths, lined by many thousands of torii gates, climbing the Inari hill from the main gate just outside the JR Nara Line Inari station (helpfully decorated in vermillion so one cannot miss it!), past the Tower gate and the main honden hall, up past the inner shrine and eventually to multitudes of mounds (tsuka), which are for private worship.
Each of the many torii are donated by a Japanese business, the identity of the benefactor inscribed on the back of the gate. At the lower levels of the complex, the paths are quite crowded, making it a little tricky to photograph the lanes without obstruction. Patience is a virtue here.
Whilst the many torii are the most noticeable feature of the shrine, a veritable army of foxes (kitsune), the messenger of the god of grain foods, Inari, can also be found. A pair of foxes guard most shrines, one holding the key to the granary in its mouth, whilst his partner may hold a scroll, a sheaf of rice or a fox cub. No two of these statues are exactly alike. You can even buy fried tofu to offer to them!
The shrine is open from 7am to 6pm, with shorter hours for prayers. Entry is free, but of course you are free to purchase offerings, clay foxes and priests with fortunes inside, and any other of the paraphernalia of prayerful contemplation. Plus snacks!
From Nijo castle, I rode Karasuma Oike (subway) to Sanjo. From Sanjo, I took a JR Inari line. By 4pm I am already greeted by large crowd in Fushimi Inari shrine. I was too tired to climb to the top so after an hour trek, I called it a day and headed back to Inari station back to Kyoto station.
This is actually the main Inari shrine in Japan (which is a shrine dedicated to the fox spirit).
Seemingly endless rows of red torii line the pathway up along the hilly trail of Mount Inari (stands about 233m).
The toriis are mainly donated by individuals or companies to the shrine for blessings or thanksgiving.
The entire gentle hike is really long and can take about 3hrs, although i personally don't think you need to trek all the way up to enjoy this place. In fact the number of toriis reduces at the top.
Map of the shrine area (in japanese) http://inari.jp/trip/map01/
Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto god of rice, and foxes are thought to be his messengers. Therefore, many fox statues can be found at Inari shrines.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, that cover the hiking trails of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine's main buildings. It takes about two hours to walk along the whole trail.
Fushimi Inari is the head of all Inari shrines, which is the god of rice and commerce, both of which are very important in Japan. The famous torii gates lined up all over the mountainside were donated by various companies in Japan and they are written on the outside of the gates.
You'll often find fox statues at inari shrines throughout the nation. In Shintoism, foxes are believed to be messengers, particularly for Inari, although foxes have importance in Japanese culture outside of Shintoism, as well. During the Heian Period, Fushimi Inari Shrine was considered to be one of the top shrines in Japan and the Imperial Court made offerings here.
The Fushimi area is famous for Inari-zushi. If you want to try it, be aware that there is a small restaurant halfway up the mountainside that offers authentic Inari-zushi much cheaper than the shops at the bottom, and it also offers a great view of the torii gates!
Entrance is free.
This shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Across Japan, you can find several thousands of shrines for Inari, but Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of all due to its amazing orange torii gates. It takes about 2 hours to walk along the whole trail marked by hundreds of these which are offerings by the worshippers. Foxes are the messengers of Inari and you can find many fox statues in Inari shrines. To our surprise we came across many cats in this beautiful shrine. The shrine is always open and the admission is free. To reach Inari, just take JR Nara Train from Kyoto and get off at second stop. In 10 minutes you will find yourself walking through the orange torii gates.
This Shrine is a head Shrine of Inari (Inari is the God of business).
It has thousands of Torii lining up from the base up to some of the smaller Shrines on Inari mountain.
There are also statues of Kitsune (Fox) which is regarded as God's messenger everywhere in the Shrine.
It is said that the two-storey entry gate was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
I think everybody who go to Kyoto should visit this place.
The Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is dedicated to the God of rice and sake in the 8th century, behind the shrine you will see unending path of over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates and dozens of statues of foxes. The fox is considered the messenger of Inari, the god of grain foods and the stone foxes are often referred to as Inari. The key often seen in the fox's mouth is for the rice granary. On an incidental note, the Japanese traditionally see the fox as a sacred, somewhat mysterious figure capable of "possessing" humans the favored point of entry is under the fingernails.
A walk around the upper precincts is a pleasant day hike. It also makes for a delightfully eerie stroll in the late afternoon and early evening, when the various graveyards and miniature shrines along the path take on a mysterious air.
I personally like this Shrine. Built in 711 to enshrine the God of grains, the entire path is about 4 km long and it is lined with Torii gates. To complete the entire path, it'll take about 2 hours.
Make sure you have brought enough water and have gone to washroom before embarking it... :)
One of my favourite and most unique places in Japan.
Can you imagine a "tunnel" created by lining up one torii gate after another? Well, this is where you can see it for yourself! All brightly coloured orange, and with different "tunnels" to choose to enter, it's like going through a maze. This was featured in the movie "Memoirs of a geisha".
This is one of the most unique experiences in Japan. You have to walk through/under gate after gate (each one between a few inches to metres apart... the bigger they are the further apart) from the bottom of a hill to the top.