Exploring Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto

Over 10,000 vermillion torii gates hem the winding, sacred paths around Fushimi Inari Taisha. This Shinto shrine, located at the base of a small mountain, is one of the most awe-inspiring sites in Kyoto.

Inari, the god of rice, is also the patron of merchants. Most of the torii here are donated by Japanese businesses expressing gratitude for prosperity and success, which is why you’ll see the company names inscribed on the side of the structures. Wandering the grounds, you may also notice statues of playful foxes, called kitsune. They are Inari’s spirit messengers and often hold symbolic items like jewels, keys, or scrolls in their mouths or beneath their front paw.

Fushimi_4808Torii prayer ornaments

Fushimi_4818

Fushimi INari TaishaTorii gates mark entrance to the sacred ground

Kitsune fox at Fushimi Inari ShrineA kitsune fox statue guards an entrance

Fushimi Inari shrineOne of the many mini sub shrines scattered among the complex

The photogenic temple gets mobbed with tourists around the entrance. But don’t despair – the further you walk along the trail, the more you’ll shed the crowds to experience the flaming orange, meditative gates in tranquility.

Quick Info
  • Entrance is free
  • The full circuit trail is approximately 4 km and takes 2-3 hours to hike
  • Located a short walk from from the JR Inari Station or Fushimi Inari Station
  • The street between the stations and shrine is lined full of food vendors

Where’s the most sacred place you’ve ever visited? Leave your comments or questions below.

Lara Dalinsky
Lara Dalinsky

Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of discovering the world. She recently relocated to Seoul, South Korea, where she hopes to explore some of Asia for the next few years. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance graphic designer. In her spare time, she contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, is an ambassador for FIG Clothing, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, instructs Zumba, practices yoga, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.

 

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  1. Karianne Di Salvo
    Karianne Di SalvoAugust 20,16

    This is one of my favourite places in Japan. There is something very special about it – after we got away from the crowds, it was such a peaceful place where you could escape to. We love wander under the tore gates for hours! And my goodness, it is so photogenic! We’d love to go back next time we visit Japan.

    • Lara Dalinsky
      Lara DalinskyAugust 26,16

      It’s true, if you’re willing to walk a little further, past the crowds, it’s an incredible place to experience in peace. Hope you get to return.

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