Kyoto Tourist: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Have you seen Memoirs of a Geisha?  If so, then you'll remember the scene when Sayuri runs through the tunnel of orange tori gates.  That's Fushimi Inari Shrine, and it's just minutes from Kyoto Station. 

From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara line to Inari (it's only 2 stops from Kyoto).  Exit the station, cross the street and you're there.

As with all temples and shrines in Japan, there's an area to wash before going in to pray.  It's not mandatory, I never do it (mostly because I don't know the proper way).

The shrine is guarded by foxes - they are everywhere, glaring down at visitors who enter.

As was this menacing figure!!

In Shintoism, when you visit the shrine to pray, you must first call the Gods or Spirits (kami) by clapping and ringing a bell.  Then you pray and make your offering (I've been told that you should make an offering of 5 yen).

Like at all shrines, you can pay a small fee for an ema to write your wish or prayer on.

Now it's time to start your trek through the thousands of orange tori gates that Fushimi Inari is so well known for.  It really is a breathtaking experience that not even the crowds can spoil.

Right? Left? Decisions, decisions...


The ascent up the mountain is dotted with tiny certain places they are almost built on top of each other.  Most look so old, and the offerings and candles make them both haunting and peaceful at the same time.


Fushimi Inari is completely free, so if you're on a budget "pay" it a visit...and go even if you're not on a budget for that matter!

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