The Fushimi Inari Taisha (“Oinari-san”) is definitely one of the highlights if you are visiting Kyoto and especially if you are into hiking. A highly fascinating, impressive, beautiful and unforgettable experience.
Basically, it´s like any other inari shrine, “Fushimi” just indicates the location, in this case it´s located in Fushimi, one of Kyoto´s districts. However, the shrine is located on top of a mountain, and you are crossing over 10.000 wooden torii on your way to the top!
To be honest, endurance helps on your way to the top. I´ve been to there in summertime and it´s been tough due to the high humidity and heat. Any other season is definitely better; in case you pay it a visit in summertime as well you should take sufficient water supplies with you. Certainly you can also buy water on the mountain top as well.
It´s definitely an enchanting and beautiful walk in a lovely, legendary surrounding, passing by all those red-painted gates.
The more you walk, the higher the path will take you, and soon you will be able to enjoy a great view over Kyoto. It will surely need some time, last time I´ve been there I needed around 1-1,5 hours to its top, so you should take the time (you might need between two and three hours to make it back) into consideration, too.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi = location
Inari = Goddess of rice, sake and wealth
Built : 711 A.D.
There are 40.000 inari shrines existing in Japan, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine is the highest ranked amongst those. Many people go there in order to ask for business success. For this, you can buy a sacrifice (e.g. fruit basket) and place it in front of the shrine.
It´s interesting to see all those fox (kitsune) statues along the pathway as guardians. In contrast to Western folklore, Japanese kitsune are helping spirits but also empowered to bewitch humans thus to be regarded with suspicion. At least if you believe in the legends and myths.
You will notice that the torii carry Japanese kanji engravings, those are usually the name of the person or company who donated money in order to have it set up. It needs a fair amount of money for this, starting at 400.000 Yen up to 1.000.000 Yen for the biggest gate type, thus mostly wealthy people / companies have their own torii here.
How to get there
You should take the JR Nara line and get off at the JR Inari station. From there, it´s just a couple of a few minutes. There are signs telling you where to go, you really can´t miss it.
There´s no entrance fee
07:00 am – 6:40 p.m.