伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari Shrine
- Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
- Fushimi Area
- Travelko Rating
- ClosedOpen Every Day
Known as the most popular shrine for tourists, Fushimiinari shrine ("Fushimiinari taisha" in Japanese) boasts a thousand torii gates (a traditional Japanese shrine gate), which cover a 400 meter long walkway, towards other smaller shrines .
These gates have become a symbol of Fushimiinari shrine.
Since there are more than 60 stairs between the beginning of the gates and the main worship hall, unfortunately there is no access going up the stairs to see the real gate by a wheelchair.
I am a tour guide specialized in wheelchairs and this is disappointing not being able to guide them to this shrine.
But I’ve found a detour path from the shrine precinct to the gate. Although it is a rugged slope, this path can not only take us to the gate but also give us an opportunity to pay respect to the shrine for success in business and school exams. In addition, you will be able to take stunning pictures with the gates.
Restrooms for wheelchairs are set up inside and outside the shrine and are cleaned every day. Smoking is only allowed in a tiny area near the restrooms.
Some gates are dedicated to the shrine by people who want to advertise their businesses. Each gate costs between 200,000 yen to more than a million yen. A gate lasts for about 4 or 5 years, depending on its size, before getting rotten.
The area around the shrine is covered with gravel which keep you from moving smoothly.
Another world of red coloured labyrinth
You can find the main entrance easily from Inari station because there is a very big red “torii” (a traditional Japanese shrine gate) at the entrance of a path. This is the first popular place to take pictures. The formal way to pass under a torii is to bow once before you pass it. But it is actually impossible to do so in this shrine because there are so many torii in front of you! Proceeding on the path, you will find another big torii and the main gate, Roumon. Two foxes will welcome you in front of the gate. Foxes are thought to be the messengers of the god (“kami” in Japanese which is the spirits or phenomena that are worshiped in Shinto) here. Behind the gate, there are a front shrine and a main shrine. But they are not all you have to see. So many torii are waiting for you behind the buildings.
It is said that the beginning of the shrine was in 711. This is the shrine of huge harvest and business prosperity. Many people come and pray to the god in New Year’s days.
Taking the left path to the back side of the buildings, you will find a row of torii, “Senbon torii”. That means a thousand torii or many Torii. The path with torii continues to go around the Inari Mountain. It takes about two hours to go around the entire track. The track will soon be branched out and lead you to smaller tori. These two paths take you to the same place. You can take whichever you like. But before going into one of them, you should take pictures here because this is the most famous place in this shrine.
If you have enough time, I recommend you to go up to a crossing called Yotsutsuji. Here you can see the south part of Kyoto city as well as the first torii you have passed.
The shrine has a sub entrance path beside the main one. Along this path, just like some other temples, there are many shops. You can also enjoy shopping there.
Let’s walk through a tunnel of orange Torii gates!
Famous for its numerous orange Torii gates, the shrine got the No.1 reputation in Japan by Trip Advisor in 2014.
The origin of Fushimi Inari Taisha (found in 711) dates back to the 8th century AD when a head of the Hata family named Hata no Iroku found a rice field at the top of Mt. Inari led by a rice-cake-turned white bird. Iroku appreciated the happening very much and enshrined Inari God there. Inari literally means a load of rice. Gradually, it became popular among merchants, businessmen to ordinary people and the Inari belief spread all over the country. Today, there are about 30,000 Inari shrines all over Japan. Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine is the headquarters of all these Inari shrines.
One of the most attractive characteristics is the tunnel of around 10,000 middle sized gates standing in the mountain of 233m (764.4ft) in height.
Talking about Torii gate, it is a symbol of a shrine standing on the boundary of sacred and non-sacred land. Inside the Torii gate god lives, not outside. All the Torii gates here were donated by people, business organizations as well as private unions that had their wishes fulfilled. On one side of each Torii, the dates of donation and the name of the donor are written in Japanese. The custom of donating Torii is said to have become popular during the Edo period (1603-1868).
Another peculiar characteristic is the statues of foxes. Most of the shrines in Japan have a pair of statues of guardian animals in front of their gates or worship halls. The most common animal is a lion dog (known as "Koma inu" in Japanese). But Inari shrines have foxes (a sacred fox "kitsune" in Japanese). The key in its mouth is the key for a granary.
And one more:“inari-zushi”. It is said that the sacred fox’s favorite food is fried tofu.
Seasoned rice wrapped with seasoned fried tofu is called “inari-zushi” or “oinari-san”. We also call the shrine “Oinari-san” friendly.
If you have time to spend here, I recommend you to walk around the mountain. You’ll see numerous old and new stone shrines scattered with small Torii gates. Several small tea houses, bamboo bush, and a pond are also along the paths in the mountain. To walk through the whole mountain will take around 2 hours but in accordance with your time, you can come down easily. Then you will be able to get the real feeling of the sacred mountain. The mountain is always beautiful with seasonal flowers and colored leaves.
*Reference: Home page of the shrine
- * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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