Mount Inari – Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine, Kyoto

Traverse Under 10,000 Torii Gates While You Hike Mount Inari.

Mount Inari – Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine

 

At the base of Mount Inari is the Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine, which is the most important shrine among several thousand dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. From here, my friend Steve and I meandered along the trails under the 10,000 vermillion colored torii gates that take you to the summit of Mount Inari. Each torii gate is donated by a Japanese business which costs between 400,000 – 1,000,000 Yen (approx $5000-13000) and each is inscribed in black with the donators name and date of donation. I could have bought a mini torii gate for 2500 yen (approx $30) which would have been placed around the sub-shrines (maybe next time).

The trail spans 4km and took us about 2.5 hours to walk. We took our time admiring the 10,000 torii gates, shrines and gardens that are scattered throughout the mountain. After about an hour we reached Yotsutsuji intersection and watched the sunset over Kyoto. The rays created beautiful shadows and lights through the torii gates. There were only a dozen or so people admiring the sunset, so it made for a zen and quiet experience. At this point it got dark and most people headed back down the mountain, but Steve and I trekked to the summit. I am not a fan of walking alone up a dark mountain and there were a few times I got ahead of Steve. It got to be quite eery and hearing the bushes rattle freaked me out. They were only cats, but my mind did start to wander a few times.

 

  • What: Mount Inari – Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine. 10,000 torii gates.
  • Where: Kyoto
  • Hours: The shrine is open 24hrs and the busiest times are between 08:00 and 18:00. During these hours you will be inundated with selfie sticks and tourists groups. To avoid this, go at sunset when the tourist buses have departed.
  • Price: Free
  • Transport: Train – JR West: Take the JR Nara Line from Kyoto Station for 2 stops. It takes about 5 minutes. Keihan Railway: Keihan Fushimi Inari Station is about a 5-minute walk to the shrine. The private Keihan Line is convenient if you are traveling from Kiyomizudera or Gion. Bicycle – You can rent a bike near Kyoto Station and within 20 minutes you will be at the Shrine. Make sure to bike along Philosophers Path, which is close by. It’s magical. On Foot – From Kyoto Station it will take about one hour. A great way to burn off ramen noodles!
 

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