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.