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.
Torii prayer ornaments
Torii gates mark entrance to the sacred ground
A kitsune fox statue guards an entrance
One 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.
- 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 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.