Fushimi Inari, officially known as Fushimi Inari Taisha, is a beautiful Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii. The torii gates along the way are donations from individuals and companies and on the back of each gate is the name of the donor and the date of the donation.
The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred mountain Inari, which is 233 meters high and is part of the shrine grounds. The hike to the top of the mountain and the way back take about 2-3 hours.
The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Since it is believed that foxes are Inari's messengers, there are numerous fox statues throughout the shrine grounds. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is the main shrine of all 30,000 Inari shrines in Japan.
This is the goal of most visitors to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Located about 45 minutes up the mountain, this intersection features some fabulous views of Kyoto on clear days. Many hikers decide to stop here as there are fewer and fewer torii from this point on.
Foxes are seen as the messengers of Inari, Shinto god of rice; the stones foxes seen around the shrine are even called Inari as well. Many of them have a key in their mouth which depict keys to granaries blessed by Inari.
Every torii you pass by has been donated by individuals and companies, with their names inscribed on the back of each one. Prices start at around 400,000 yen for a small gate and go over one million yen for a large gate.
One minute walk from Inari station (JR Nara Line), or a 4-minute walk from Fushimi-Inari Station (Keihan Main Line) just beyond.
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