|Main torii gate at the end of the avenue leading up to the primary shrine grounds at the base of the mountain.|
A very famous shrine, it has appeared in Aria the Natural (anime episode 5), Inari Kon Kon anime (where it is set), and of course Memoirs of a Geisha. It appears innumerably in Japanese media and has millions of visitors at New Years. This shrine is often crowded with tourists by mid-morning to late afternoon, and a more calm and atmospheric visit can be had in the off hours. Still, the crowds are mainly in the bottom 25% of the mountain where the torii gates are densest, but you will lose the crowds as you head up the mountain where there is a small shrine at the top. Going all the way to the top and back down takes a couple of hours, but it will take longer as you'll be taking breaks and stopping to enjoy the sights, etc. On the way out or in, there is a very busy market street full of food vendors and shops just north of the main avenue up to the shrine. The smells of bbq and such from the vendors will tempt just about anyone to stop and eat something.
Getting to the shrine is easy as it is just outside the JR Nara Line Inari Station, a 5-minute ride from Kyoto Station. It is also a short walk from Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station. In most of the photos for this post, I ran them through a woodcut / watercolour filter to make it more of an abstract representation. You can experience the true beauty of the place firsthand, with this just being a taster.
|Main Gatehouse. Note the guardian foxes on the left and right.|
|More guardian or messenger foxes in front of another gate.|
|Closeup of a fox statue. The fox on the left usually has a key or cylinder which represents the key to the rice granary, while the other fox has a jewel that represents the spirits of the gods.|
|Map of the shrine grounds.|
|Some Torii gate shaped ema tablets.|
|There are big gates near the bottom of the mountain. As you go up the mountain the gates become fewer and smaller, but there are lots of gates both big and small up to the halfway point up the mountain where there are tea houses.|
|A long strait section on the lower paths.|
|Lots of small gates here to give the illusion that the gates go on into infinity.|
|The way sunlight can play on the pathways is very cool. You are also surrounded by a forest and a lush green canopy all around you and even above the gates.|
|A stretch of path with no people!|
|Some ladies dressed up for the walk up and they're even wearing the traditional wood clogs. This is not a difficult trail, but you must like steps. If the trail is wet, the stones can be slippery.|
|Detail of a small shrine.|
|On our way up, we also hit a traffic jam. There were workers carrying up the big pine logs to repair a torii gate. This is backbreaking work to carry up. With thousands of these wood posts, repair must happen almost daily to replace rotted wood.|
|People watching the posts being raising into position.|
|Stone steps underneath torii.|
|More giant torii. There is writing on the back side of the gates which indicates who sponsored the gate. The front side of the gates has no writing.|
|A parting shot of the beautiful and mystical looking gates.|
|The well kept shrine grounds at the main area at the bottom of the mountain on the way out. Even in the late afternoon you can see people heading up.|
Visit my travelogue posts page.
Visit Kamakura, near Tokyo, which is like a mini-Kyoto on the coast.
More Kyoto Posts
- Whirlwind Tour Through Tokyo and Kyoto
- Kyoto Trip Highlights - Amazing Sights
- Pokemon Go As You Travel In Tokyo And Kyoto
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 1 (without breaking the bank)
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 2 - Kyoto Dining (Ekiben, Bullet Trains, Fushimi Inari Food Stalls)
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 3 - Kyoto Dining (Nishiki Market Grazing)
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 4 - Kyoto Dining (Kyoto Style Sushi, Arashimaya, and Kinkakuji
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 5 - Kyoto Dining (Gion, Ootoya, Kiyomizudera, Kyoto Station Ramen)
- Eating Well While Travelling In Japan - Part 6 - Tokyo Finale (kaiten sushi, takoyaki, and curry)