Let me introduce you to the ‘red gate district’. You can see the red Shinto torii gates all over Japan, but I wonder if there is any other place that has as much torii gates as Fushimi Inari. Seriously, a lot. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised as Fushimi Inari is the head shrine dedicated to Shinto god, Inari.
|The path to Fushimi Inari from|
That was the day we were supposed to go to Osaka, but I have not done a single research on it, so we skipped it and moved our itinerary to Fushima Inari. Anyone will not resist going to this shrine, not after they’ve seen the millions of beautiful pictures taken here. One miserable luck though, I forgot to charge my camera battery and can only capture the moments with my not-that-smart phone.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station. That being said, we used out JR Pass again, started out from Kyoto Station.
At the shrine, the red rules everything.
Just like every shrine, the wishing plaques are not something you will miss but the ones in Fushimi Inari are the most striking of all.
The thousands of torii gate made up to a network of hiking stair trails up to the Mount Inari. What we didn’t know on that day was that the trail spans 4 kilometers and the two naive travelers started their hike.
After around 30 minutes we reached Yotsutsuji Intersection and enjoyed the view over Kyoto city. The walk was a piece of cake. We got hooked, thinking if this is beautiful, surely the top of the mountain is even better, right?
So up we hike, as the trail split into circular route to the summit we’re so looking forward to. Along the way we came across some tea houses but they were not open yet. The route became more and more challenging with increasing amount of stairs, getting steeper and steeper as we go.
|The torii gates are donations of public hence their name inscribed on the gates.|
At some point, we realized that all the hikers that were around earlier had vanished. They had descended the mountain at or shortly after passing Yotsutsuji Intersection. So what was awaiting us at the summit of the mountain? Nothing. Simply nothing after the 1.5 hour of hike. There’s no view point at the summit and the staircases just went in descending direction, without us even realising that.
Tips for anyone going to Fushimi Inari; just hike up to the intersection point, enjoy the view and don’t think about hiking further. Of course, unless you are there for extreme workout.
From the shrine, we used another staircase that lead us through the street market outside Fushimi Inari. The market wasn’t bustling but promises some interesting souvenirs to bring home and delectable snacks.
We took the JR train to Arashiyama since we did not finish exploring the area two days ago. There were a group of people promoting Arashiyama tourism, hence the street performances.
This time we walked along the Hozu River which is a famous spot for cherry blossom and fall leaves. Unfortunately, we have none of these. It was too early for fall leaves. Nonetheless the walk was very enjoyable.
|The Togetsukyo bridge along the Hozu River.|
Our day continue to be leisurely and uneventful throughout the evening. We stopped at Nijo station on our way back for sushi and continue to hunt for local snack which I think are worthy of a post on their own.
Read all my Japan trip here:
Japan Trip – Day 1 in Tokyo
Japan Trip – Day 2 in Tokyo
Japan Trip – Day 3 in Tokyo Asakusa and Ueno
Japan Trip – Day 4 in Tokyo – Kamakura
Japan Trip – Day 5 in Nikko
Japan Trip – Day 6 in Hiroshima
Japan Trip – Day 7 Miyajima and Hiroshima
Japan Trip – Day 8 Kyoto
Japan Trip – Day 9 in Nara
Japan Trip – Day 10 Fushimi Inari and Arashiyama
Japan Trip – Day 11 Kyoto
Japan Trip – Day 12 Kyoto – Yasaka, Maruyama Park, Nishiki Market