Fushimi Inari Shrine is a very famous shrine to the god of harvest, Inari. Fushimi Inari is located in east Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. For tourists, this place is a great draw, and it is obvious why. With rows upon rows of torii gates winding up Mount Inari this is a unique and beautiful place to visit.
Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine is the headquarters of all the Inari shrines across of Japan, of which there are around 30,000. The shrine was originally founded in 711 by the Hata clan and built at the peak of Mount Inari.
Imperial messengers started visiting Inari shrine in 852 after the Emperor presented offerings there asking for rain. Since that time, Inari shrine has been deeply revered by the people of Kyoto as the deity for good business and bountiful crops. Inari’s messengers are the kitsune (good fox) and there are many statues of these throughout the shrine complex.
The torii gates which line the trail to the original shrine have all been donated by people in order for their wishes to come true. If you walk between the orange gates you will notice message inscribed on the legs of the gate with the wishes of these people. The main gate to Fushimi Inari shrine was donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi when he wish that his mother would recover came true.
The shrine is often busiest during the New Year, Hatsuuma festival in February and Irani festival on the 3rd of May, and also for fire burning festival in November. However, the shrine still attracts a lot of attention during the rest of the year as a shrine to wish for business prosperity.
If you visit Fushimi Inari shrine don’t worry if you don’t wish to climb up Mt Inari, there is a large shrine at the bottom now and you can still witness the start of the torii trail. However, if you want to walk up to Mt Inari then be warned that the trail is 4km long and usually takes around 2 hours.
When you get to Fushimi Inari shrine, which is right opposite Inari train station, you will see the main torii gate donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, which leads up to the main structure originally built in 1499.
As you can see from the above map there are multiple buildings that make up Fushimi Inari shrine, including the inner shrine, which is reached by walking through the path of torii. Fushimi Inari shrine is also quite different as, unlike many other shrines, the main object of worship is visible!
Inari shrine is a stunning place to visit and take in some truly ancient culture, and go for a short hike! If you want to make your wishes come true and buy a torii gate there are smaller ones for sale that you can write your wishes on and will be placed in the shrine for you!
If you find yourself in Kyoto do not miss visiting this shrine, it is stunning at any time of year and is a surreal experience when walking up a mountain under vermilion gates.