Fushimi Inari & Kyoto’s Main Attraction

Fushimi Inari Shrine (or Fushimi Inari Taisha) is probably the most famous shrine in Kyoto.  The Memoirs of a Geisha images of young Chiyo running through the thousands of toriis instantly replayed in my mind as I walked the same path.

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Fushimi Inari is one of the many landmarks to visit in Kyoto, Japan.  The shrine is dedicated to Inari — the Shinto god of rice.  There are toriis all over Japan but none as internationally famous as the vermilion torii gates of Fushimi Inari.  There are more than 10,000 torii gates with its donor’s name inscribed on the back of them. Fushimi Inari Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
Inside one of the shrines

As I entered through the main gate, the smell of incense immersed my nostrils as my eyes battled the sun trying to focus on the fox statues throughout the main courtyard.  The prayer chats is drowned out by the vocal tourists pushing and shoving their way through the crowd.  The flowing water from the fountains to cleanse yourself seem to be an oasis among the chaos.  I become frustrated as I try many times in vain to get a clear shot of structures and truly capture the atmosphere of the Fushimi Inari.  I give up in agony and made my way up the gradual incline steps to the top.

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
The entrance

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
The beginning of the thousands of torii

Once up the steps, my eyes become focus on the rows upon rows of toriis.  Fushimi Inari most-taken path is filled with tourists and there was no way I was going to get a clear shot of toriis.  I decided to switch paths and take the one going against traffic to get my clear shot.  The strategy worked and I was able to get my picture.  My achievement gleamed as I was able to capture the pure essence of the torii unpolluted and undisturbed with human interaction.

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
My achievement

The only human interaction was the name of each donor on the back of the torii.  A Japanese school kid noticed my smile and she requested a few minutes with me to practice her English.  I gladly obliged as I got my one picture that I really wanted of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  The back and forth conversations consisted of basic questions and answers then she went on her way to disappear within the crowd of school kids. Fushimi Inari Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
The fox statues

Fushimi Inari is one of the most well-preserved shrines and temples I’ve laid eyes upon.  It’s something you have to really set eyes on to appreciate and it doesn’t matter what your religion, creed and political background.  It was one of the most memorable landmarks I’ve visited to date. Easily.  I still remember the burning of incense and the adrenaline I got from walking through the toriis.  There are some amazing shrines in Tokyo, but nothing cares to Kyoto.

Check out our other Kyoto articles here.

Fushimi Inari Kyoto
Torii and foxes