Travel Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha ⛩

by - Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ahhh, Kyoto again. How can you not fall in love with this place?

There are way too many things I want to see and do in Kyoto. One of those things is to visit (and finish) the 10,000 torii gates in Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Kawaii locals in kimono!

So after a full restless day in Osaka for my passport renewal and Universal Studios adventure, I mustered all my remaining energy to wake up early and travel to Kyoto. I know people usually put this last on their itinerary but for me? Fushimi Inari Taisha was on top of my list!

Entrance to the shrine grounds

How to go:
From Kyoto station in Nara Line, ride a train bound for Joyo or Nara and alight at Inari station. The 5-minute ride costs ¥140, Fushimi Inari Taisha is just 3 minutes away from the station. The entrance is free of charge.

The train was packed and you could easily tell where people (mostly tourists) were heading so it was not really difficult to find Fushimi Inari Taisha after all.

You can find many fox statues all over Fushimi Inari and this fox is just one of them. Foxes are thought to be messengers of the God of rice, Inari. You will also notice most of these fox statues hold a key (to the rice granaries) in their mouths.    

The entrance and the shrine grounds are usually packed with tourists. So as per my usual travel routine, I decided to keep going and take photos on my way back. 

After reaching certain steps, you will be welcomed by two parallel rows of torii gates called 'Senbon Torii'. This signifies the start of the torii-covered hiking trail which usually takes 2-3 hours to finish. The right row is the entrance while the opposite side is the exit.

On my way, the entrance was obviously full of tourists making it very difficult to snap unobstructed photos. The photo above is a view from the exit.  

Written at the back of each torii are the names of the person who donated the gate and the date of the donation. The larger the gate, the bigger the cost.  

TIP #1: for a good, picturesque, instagram-worthy view, try taking photos from the back view of the torii gates. I usually take photos once I passed by the other tourists.   

One with nature!   

Basing from what I can read (Kanji characters can be a pain you know haha), this is an information board for the price of the torii in JPY. Below, it also says the reception time in case you want to 'dedicate' (donate) a torii*

Foxes, messengers of God. 

After a good one hour of walking, I decided to post a photo in Facebook and asked if any of my friends really did finish the hiking trail. While resting, I also did a few minutes research. To my surprise, many tourists opt not to finish the 10,000 torii gates AND SO I DECIDED TO QUIT AND GO BACK! (Lol)

Honestly, due to time constraint, I knew deep down that I really have to leave early too. I'm sorry, Fushimi Inari! 

Smaller shrines can be found along the way.    

And foxes again. 

For those who can't buy and donate the real thing (like me), you can buy mini torii gates for ¥1,000 - ¥10,000. I bought the smallest one as a souvenir for only ¥1,000 (Php 430).

The merchant couple was also kind enough to serve me a green tea while waiting for my name to be inscribed on my mini torii gate. Thank you, Kyoto people! You really are the nicest, most respectful, kindest people in Japan! I love you.     

More wooden torii gate figures an be found along the way. On this photo it says, ¥3,500 (P1,582) for the smallest in front, and the second biggest (at the back) says it costs ¥5,800 (P2,623).

A friend asked me if I stayed 'til the night. There, I learned that since the shrine is free for the public, some tourists visit in the evening. I wonder how darker the dense rows of torii gates will look like at night? I'm intrigued. I'm thinking of coming back.   

PS: after a couple of weeks, my friends decided to go on a Kyoto adventure using my itinerary. Their first stop was Fushimi Inari Taisha as well. Little did I know that they were really determined to finish the hiking trail and it took them roughly 2.5 or 3 hours. Wow! Haha!

The view from the top was good according to them. Along the way are more souvenir shops and food stalls in case you're hungry too. It was easier to take photos clear of tourists once you're on the top too (this, I agree). The more I went through the hiking trail, the lesser the tourists.

TIP #2: for unobstructed photos, go pass the foot of the shrine and walking trail.

That's it for my much loved Fushimi Inari Taisha adventure. I didn't regret putting this on top of my list. I love you, Kyoto. Forever!

There are still many shrines, temples, and UNESCO world heritage sites to explore in Kyoto. Actually, way too many to list down and to explore in one visiting. As of writing, I'm already planning when my next Kyoto trip will be. Kyoto has this super special place in my heart (I really don't know why but it has that effect on me, I wanna cry) and I love it when I'm one with the temples and shrines alone, so I might go back on a solo adventure again. I love you, Kyoto!

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