Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Orange


It’s an explosion of orange at Kyoto’s beautiful Fushimi Inari Shrine. One of the more popular destinations in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its tens of thousands of orange torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings, and these long tunnels of torii are one of the most iconic symbols of Kyoto.

The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. Along the way there are multiple smaller shrines with stacks of miniature torii gates that were donated by visitors with smaller budgets. There are also several small restaurants serving Kitsune Udon (“Fox Udon”), a noodle soup topped with pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), a treat favored by foxes, and Inari sushi, which is fried tofu wrapped around sweetened rice. From bottom to top to bottom again, trekking the (sometimes steep) trail can take two to three hours, and there are beautiful views of Kyoto at the top. However, visitors are free to walk just as far as they wish before turning back.

Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794. The earliest structures were built in 711 on the Inariyama hill in southwestern Kyoto, but the shrine was re-located in 816. The main shrine structure was built in 1499.

Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business.

Orange … it’s all over the place at Fushimi Inari Shrine. It can also be found in abundance at Ailsa’s Travel Theme, so take a look.


About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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20 Responses to Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Orange

  1. viveka says:

    Stephen, a magical post in post words and images. Soon I will be there and I hope I can make the Fushimi Inari Shrine the same justice as you have done. My favorite image is the little lamp *smile and also top image. A Fantastic gallery, Stephen.
    I have decided to stay in Kyoto 5 nights and do day tours to Kobe, Nara and Osaka, does it make sense????

    • Hey Viveka … glad you liked the gallery. Kyoto is an amazing place.
      That said, I might rethink your plans a little. With so much to see and do in Kyoto, why not just spend all five days there? I might do a day trip to Osaka, because Osaka’s pretty cool (it’s like a junior Tokyo), and it doesn’t take long to get there from Kyoto. Nara is close enough to Kyoto to be considered a part of Kyoto, and it’s definitely worth a visit, especially to see the tiny deer that region is famous for. But I would skip Kobe, simply because there’s not enough there of interest. Believe me, you’ll find more than enough to do in Kyoto and its immediate area that there’s no reason to go anywhere else, really.

      • viveka says:

        Thanks a million, Stephen … glad we are think in the same direction and I like your way of thinking. It also mean I don’t have to check in and out so often. It’s a hug trip I’m going to do … with the health issues I have and I have to be practical. I first visit to Japan was to Kobe and all I remember from that visit was the dinner I had sitting on the floor and I had more food in my knee than in my mouth … had a light blue skirt on. *laughing – much better with the chopsticks those days.
        I’m so excited over to go back to Japan … 35 years since last time, but I’m always worried .. because of my bad knee and numb feet, but I just have to proof to myself that I can manage.
        Thanks a million for your advice.

        • Viveka,
          I envy you … I can’t wait to go back to Kyoto. I don’t know when you’re going, but I went in September, and it was very hot. I drank a lot of water and iced tea!

          One good word of advice for you that will benefit your bad knee (me too!) and numb feet, I found the cabs in Kyoto to be very cheap, especially when compared to San Francisco prices. Most of the time we would take a cab to our destination, which was usually a centrally located place near a number of other sites that we could walk to. One day we went up to see the Bamboo Forest at a place called Arashiyama that was fairly far from Kyoto, and the cab driver dropped us off right in front of the entrance … price was about 3100 yen, which is thirty US dollars or 210 Krona (I did my research!). We then found a train station in Arashiyama and took the train back into Kyoto Station.

          Another day, we wanted to have lunch at a really cool cafe called eFish (HIGHLY recommended!!!!), so we caught a cab outside of Kyoto Station (my hotel was in the station), we showed the driver a pic in the tour book, and he dropped us off right front of the restaurant when he could have dropped us off at the end of the street. That was fun because the driver spoke some English, and when we told him we were from San Francisco his eyes lit up and he told us that he and his wife had honeymooned in SF thirty years ago!

          Anyway, take a cab! Avoid the buses, because they always looked packed. Look into the train, too … they are nowhere near as chaotic as Tokyo. In fact, there’s a train station near the Fushimi Inari Shrine. That train goes back to Kyoto Station.

          So there’s a little something I learned about traveling around Kyoto that I wanted to pass on to you. Hopefully it will make your trip a little easier!

          • viveka says:

            Stephen, thanks for your great tips … going the first 3 weeks in April. Your comment is truly a great help for me! I really appreciate your help. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must for me after your gallery.

            I have made notes about the restaurant and the forest, never heard about that before. Thanks for the research, excellent work.

            What was the name of your hotel in Kyoto – I’m looking at Princess Kyoto.

            Taxi, great stuff – me like very much, because in Tokyo they seems to be expensive. I’m not much for busses .. except home in Sweden and London. I will send you a postcard from Kyoto.

            Taxi, great stuff – “me like very much”. Because in Tokyo they seems to be expensive. I’m not much for busses .. except home in Sweden and London.

  2. kayrpea61 says:

    I never made it to this shrine on my visits to Kyoto. Thank you for taking me there,Stephen. I will be interested in your response to Viveka – five nights usually means only four days – one day each for Osaka and Nara leaves two for Kyoto. Tight but feasible in my view 🙂

    • You’re welcome, mate!
      You can see my comment to Viveka above. Two days is tight, and doable, but I don’t think you will be doing Kyoto justice. I spent six days there, and there are still things left on my checklist, which is cool because that just prompts me to get back there … hopefully next year (might have to be since I just started a new job).

  3. Lovely photos, Stephen. When were you there? I’ll bet you were really in your element! Thanks for sharing these incredible views and works of art.

    • thank you, victoria. i was in kyoto september of last year … and I really was in my element. such a beautiful place. strangely enough, i have yet to post a gallery of all the amazing shots I got there (and I got some doozies!). mental note to me …

  4. pommepal says:

    Fascinating. Great photos

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  10. Paula says:

    How are you Stephen?

  11. The Guat says:

    Haven’t seen your pics in awhile. Hope that you’re doing well this year and shooting more amazing pics. Miss your posts. Hope you’re all right.

    • Hey Guat! Cheers! Nice hearing from ya! Yep, things are alright on my end, and thank you for your concern. I went through a radical life change back in July when, after eight years of running my own one-man business, I went back into the professional workforce. The change has been immense and positive, and my job hits on almost all of my talents, but all of a sudden my time became someone else’s. I also retained my biggest client from my freelance days, because that extra money helped me get back on my feet financially very quickly. But that also meant I was working at night and all day Saturday. So, suddenly, my free time disappeared.
      And, unfortunately, I haven’t picked up my camera since last August (about the same time as my last blog post), and that REALLY bothers me.
      But things are changing again: my freelance client is going out of business, which is really going to free up a lot of time, and I intend to get back into my blog and photography in a big way. I really miss both!
      Hope you’re doing well, mate! Look for me to make my triumphant return … as I might say at work … ASAP!!!

  12. Pingback: Ailsa’s Travel Theme: One Colour | Stephen Kelly Creative

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