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.