One of the most visited temples in Kyoto is Fushimi Inari-Taisha.
You would have definitely seen photos of it before, the shrine is famous for it’s thousands of tightly placed torii gates set along beautiful hiking trails around the grounds of the shrine.
To visitors of Japan, Fushimi Inari is a must see temple for it’s unique structures and rich heritage, but to the locals of Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is a very important Shinto Shrine.
About Fushimi Inari
Fushimi Inari is the most important of all shrines dedicated to Inari, who is the Shinto God of rice, as well as the patron of business. It is believed that foxes were Inari’s messengers, which is why you can find many fox statues looking down at you from around the temple grounds.
Some of the earliest structures at Fushimi Inari were built as early as 711 on the Inariyama Hill in southwestern Kyoto, but the shrine was relocated to it’s current spot in 816 at the request of monk Kukai. The main structure of the shrine was built in 1499.
The main highlight of the temple at the hundreds of orange torii gates that line the trails around the grounds. The beautiful orange torii gates are all donated by individuals or companies. On the back side of the gates you will find the donator’s name and date of donation. The cost of donation starts are around ¥400,000 for a small sized gate and increases to over one million for a large gate!
The grounds of Fushimi Inari are just beautiful, with trails broken up by stunning lakes and rivers, as well as smaller sacred sights where you can see much smaller torii gates that are donated by individuals with smaller budgets.
There is so much to explore at Fushimi Inari, with walking trails and grounds that extend for kilometres around.
There are many different trails around the grounds of the shrine, with all the trails leading into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 metres above sea level. Some of these are legit hiking trails as well, so it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and shoes if you’re planning to do some hiking.
Many of the trails are on an incline, especially the first few trails that you will find at the foremost of the grounds, so make sure you’re prepared to get sweaty (especially during the summer months when it’s so humid), and bring lots of water with you!
To completed the total walk around the grounds could take around 2 to 3 hours, however you can turn around and come back at any point.
As with all temples there are also a lot of places around the grounds where you can write down your messages and wishes in the hopes that they will come true. Fushimi Inari had a few different spots around the temple grounds where you could do this, and they were all pretty unique to any other temples we’d visited.
In one place you could write down your wish, positive affirmation or hopes for the future on a triangle piece of wood that you could the decorate to look like the face of a fox. In another spot wishes were placed on top of colourful pom poms that were made out of all kinds of origami made into different shapes and all colours of the rainbow.
Getting to Fushimi Inari
Fushimi Inari is located just outside the JR Inari Station, the second station from Kyoto along the JR Nara Line. The shrine can also be reached in a short walk from Fushimi Inari Station along the Keihan Main Line.
The shrine is always open and admission is free. There are many cafes and restaurants, as well as souvenir shops lining the streets from the station to the shrine, and are a great place to grab some gifts or a snack on your way out of the shrine.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha || 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward
More temples around Japan
During our trip to Japan we visited lots of different temples. Some of our favourites include –
- Senso-ji – the oldest temple in Japan
- Kinkaku-ji – also known as the Golden Pavilion
- Meiji Shrine – right in the heart of the city, near Harajuku Station