Fushimi Inari is a shrine located in the Kyoto Area. It has been founded in year 711 and is dedicated to the Inari Kami, god of cereal and especially rice, who are a symbol of prosperity in Japan. In this shrine, he is commonly depicted as a fox and sometimes holds a sheaf of rice in his mouth. He is considered to be watching over the hill on which the Shrine has been built.
The Shrine is one of the most impressive shrines I have ever visited in Japan. Behind the main buildings, you can enter a garden that leads to a first set of red arches around a stairway. Those red arches are actually called torii and are traditional Japanese gates. Most of them have been donated, and their incredible number transformed the alleys into tunnels that cover several kilometers and lead to the top of the hill.
The path covers many smaller spots with a surprising concentration of stone shrines. I quickly lost count of the number of fox statues as they can be seen everywhere. Most of the stone structures are covered in moss, and the area is surrounded by a soothing silence. It has a mystical and relaxing beauty that will make you forget that you are at the heart of a busy city.
If you decide to keep climbing you may end up finding one of the lookouts hidden behind a collection of shrines. From there, you will have an outstanding view on the city of Kyoto and its suburbs from the South-east.
Find out more about Fushimi Inari Taisha.