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Fushimi Inari Taisha

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Peter
Local tour guide
"Visit Fushimi Inari Shrine early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds and experience a more peaceful walk through the thousands of torii gates. For a unique view, take a detour off the main path onto the bamboo forest trail; it's less traveled and offers a serene atmosphere along with occasional spots to admire the city from above."

What is Fushimi Inari Shrine?

Fushimi Inari Shrine, or Fushimi Inari Taisha, is a Shinto shrine famed for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. These trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. It's the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine offers a unique insight into Japanese culture and spirituality, not to mention its outright visual splendor.

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As the sun sets, the lanterns along the path cast an ethereal glow, painting a mystical atmosphere as one wanders through the endless corridors of gates. Here, one can explore the many smaller sub-shrines which comprise over 32,000 sub-shrines throughout the precinct. The fox statues, or 'kitsune', that are often seen at these sub-shrines, are thought to be the messengers of Inari and are revered as they hold keys to the granary in their mouths.

History of Fushimi Inari Shrine

The history of Fushimi Inari Shrine dates back to the early 8th century, making it one of the most ancient and venerable religious sites in Japan. It's believed to have been founded in 711 AD on the orders of the Hata family, a powerful clan with Korean roots. The main shrine structure was built in 1499, at the base of the mountain. The ascent up the mountain has been a spiritual journey for countless devotees, many of whom donated a torii gate as an offering to Inari for wealth and good fortune.

Over the centuries, the shrine has become a place of worship for not just agricultural prosperity but also for success in business, which is why so many business owners donate, hoping to receive blessings for their endeavors. Fushimi Inari Shrine has survived the test of time and modernization, becoming a symbolic representation of the ongoing integration of belief and tradition in Japanese daily life.

Why is Fushimi Inari Shrine Important?

Fushimi Inari Shrine holds a significant place in the hearts of the Japanese people, deeply rooted in the Shinto traditions of worship and respect for the kami, or spirits, that inhabit natural elements. Inari, recognized as the patron of business, has historically garnered reverence from merchants and manufacturers, and the shrine is seen as a place to pray for prosperity and success. The shrine’s importance is also reflected in its cultural influence, being featured in numerous films and books, most notably in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha".

In addition to its spiritual significance, Fushimi Inari Shrine has evolved into a symbol of the fusion between Japan's natural beauty and its cultural heritage. The thousands of torii gates, donated by individuals and businesses alike, signify the gratitude and hopes of people, echoing an age-old tradition that continues to prosper in a rapidly modernizing world.

Things to Do & See at Fushimi Inari Shrine

There's an array of activities and sights at Fushimi Inari Shrine that cater to visitors' diverse interests. Taking a leisurely hike through the torii gates up to the summit of Mount Inari is a must. It’s a two-hour round trip, give or take, depending on how often you stop to capture the beauty and read the inscriptions on the gates. You can also explore the smaller paths that branch off from the main trail, where you'll find many less-visited sub-shrines that feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the main path.

For those intrigued by local culinary delights, tasting the traditional Inari sushi and Kitsune udon, which are said to be favorites of the fox spirits, is an experience not to be missed. There are also plenty of street food stalls offering local snacks. Don't forget to take a close look at the various fox statues—each has its own character, and some say making a wish at these statues could bring you good fortune.

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Additionally, photography enthusiasts will find the shrine to be an incredible backdrop, especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light casts complex shadows and creates breathtaking scenes. Lastly, experiencing a festival here can be quite memorable; if your visit coincides with one, do partake in the event and observe the ancient traditions that are still practiced today.


Frequently asked questions

What is the Fushimi Inari Shrine?

Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari.

Why are there so many torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine?

The torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine are donations by individuals and businesses thankful for their prosperity, with inscriptions often including the donor's name and the date of the gate's construction. The gates symbolize the path to enlightenment and the transition from the profane to the sacred.

Can visitors hike up Mount Inari at the Fushimi Inari Shrine?

Yes, visitors can hike up Mount Inari via the torii gate-covered trails. The hike to the summit and back takes about 2-3 hours, depending on one's pace, and offers a scenic view over Kyoto.

Are there specific times when Fushimi Inari Shrine is particularly busy?

Fushimi Inari Shrine can be particularly busy during Japanese holidays and festivals, such as New Year's Day when thousands visit as part of hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the new year. Weekends and the cherry blossom season in spring can also attract large crowds.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is open 24/7 to visitors, and one can enjoy the shrine grounds and the hike up Mount Inari free of charge.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps