Kyoto’s most photographed site

Fushimi Inari was dedicated to Inari Okami, the god of rice and sake in 711 before the site moved to Mount Inari in 816 and became Fushimi Inari Taisha. The first tori, the Romon tower gate at the entrance, was built from donations by a samurai warlord in 1589.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Waiting in line to offer prayers near the entrance

Fighting the crowds on a hot morning, I caught a glimpse of the main shrine built in 1499 where lines of people queued to offer a prayer. I moved to the beginning of the trail of thousands of tori gates. Each one carrying the name inscribed in black calligraphy of the donator.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto
The entrance was so crowded, I had to wait for photographers to finish their shots

On the way up there were countless sub-shrines mingled with statues of revered foxes believed to be messengers of god. In spite of my awe on the climb, the summit was an anti-climax with a quiet sub-shrine surrounded by those there to pay their respects. Still I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto
It seemed most visitors didn’t make it to the top

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