Have you ever had a dream that felt endless, where you are traveling through a tunnel that goes on forever? That's how it felt walking through the magical Fushimi Inari Shrine!
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station, the second one from Kyoto Station along the JR Nara Line. The shrine can also be reached by a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line.
The main shrine that meets you at the entrance is nice enough, with it’s stark red colour and golden ornaments. But this is Kyoto, a city with hundreds of spectacular shrines and temples, and the main attraction is not the shrine itself but rather the pathway that starts behind the shrine.
FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE
Is there any better way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture than dressing up in a kimono rental in Kyoto? I loved seeing all the women in kimonos 🙂 Although I didn't have time to do it in Kyoto I was able to dress up in a kimono in Osaka Castle.
Fushimi Inari is most known for having thousands of vermilion coloured torii gates. The torii forms a tunnel that visitors can walk through on their way to the top of Mount Inari. Each of the famous torii shrine gates has been donated by an individual or a Japanese business in the hope of receiving good luck and fortune. The name of the donor is inscribed in black ink on the back of each gate.
The hike to the summit of the mountain and back takes about 2-3 hours. It would be smart to wear comfortable shoes. My Nike Air's saved me! You are free to walk just as far as you wish before turning back. I took my sweet time...twirling around and just taking it all in. The gates are so peaceful and I loved walking off the beaten path and exploring fun side areas. I felt like I was in another world.
Along the way, there are multiple smaller shrines with stacks of miniature torii gates that are donated by visitors.
In some places the gates stand so close together that even the sunlight has a hard time getting through. They form a glowing orange tunnel that winds itself up the narrow mountain path.
After a few minutes of visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha you will notice that there are dozens of statues of foxes across the shrine grounds. What does this mean? Foxes, or kitsune in Japanese, are regarded as messengers of the gods, much like the deer of Nara Park in Nara.