Morning from Fushimi Inari Shrine! This is another place I recommend visiting in the morning, if you have the time for it. It’s the other most popular tourist attraction in Kyoto and like the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, can get extremely packed! We visited around 8am in the morning, there were already quite a few people there but as the path through all the red torii gates is extremely long, it is easy to find breathing space and stillness in a place like this.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is even closer to Kyoto than the Bamboo Forest. From Kyoto Station, it’s two stops on the JR Nara Line (LOCAL) which is literally five minutes. The train station is conveniently right next to Fushimi Inari Shrine, much to Tom’s ankle’s relief. Compared to the Bamboo Forest, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a much larger area to explore. First, there’s the Shrine itself, then there’s the famous torii gates pathway behind the shrine.
The thousands of torii gates are donated by companies and individuals over the years, creating this pathway up and down Mt Inari. The entire hike through the red torii gates can take 2-3 hours all the way up and down. Most people don’t do the entire hike and only have a wander through the first half. We did similar this time around and wandered for about an hour and a half up the mountain, before checking out the food stalls nearby.
For those who love street food, there are a heap of street food stalls just outside Fushimi Inari Shrine! They sell everything here from dango (which I have tried to like, but is one of the few Japanese foods I just can’t seem to acquire the taste for), okonomiyaki, takayuki, noodles, seafood skewers, mochi, chicken karaage, crab sticks, ice-cream just to name a few. It’s a foodie’s heaven though the prices are some of the highest I have seen in Japan. Aside from food, there’s also a heap of souvenir stores and many chances to take home a little torii gate souvenir of your own.
Some tips for visiting the shrine:
Visit early in the morning, if you can. The torii gates pathway never closes
- Bring mosquito repellant, there are quite a few up the mountain
- Wear comfy shoes, because you’ll be doing a fair bit of walking in this area
- Bring some cash – there is so much street food to eat and you’ll sure be hungry for it after that long walk!
Photos: Tom Debono & I