After a long rejuvenating walk up to Mt. Inari, consider visiting Matsu no Shitaya and Garden to rest.
Located to the South of the Kagura-den (sacred music hall,) you will see a wooden gate and just inside is the Tea House and Garden to the left.
The entrance fee of ¥1200 includes a freshly brewed green or matcha tea served hot or cold and a traditional Japanese sweet depending on what is available for the day.
I chose the hot matcha tea served in a bowl with a shiny green matcha sweet because everyone loves a little matcha in their day. As you remove your shoes, a host will take you into a quiet tea room where others are kneeling and enjoying the peaceful nature of the house.
The window I sat in front of had a fantastic view of the cozy kaiyu-shiki (promenade style garden). The colourful garden included an array of Japanese trees including maples, plum pines, rhododendrons and nandinas to name a few. Mt Inari provided the backdrop to the picture and green moss covered the foreground like a blanket.
Soon enough, one of the tea house staff will present you with your tea set on a wooden tray and you are allowed to sit in peace away from the crowds and enjoy every mouthful of your sweet treats. Tea really should be enjoyed this way as you can focus on every part of the experience.
I realized afterwards I was paying for more than the nourishing tea with a great view. You are in fact experiencing an authentic Japanese tea house with many other Japanese people doing the same. After you finish your tea, you can put your shoes back on and take a walk around the beautiful gardens that date back to the Taisho Period (1912 - 26).
This garden was designed to change with the seasons for the viewers enjoyment so visitors can see something different each time they return.
Lastly, this garden surrounds the Matsu no Shitaya house which belonged to the Matsumoto family, a branch of the Hata clan. The head of which served as a priest of the Fushimi Inari Taisha. You can find this by walking to wards the back of the garden.