Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is probably the most famous and visited shrine in all of Japan.

It’s instantly recognizable by the thousands of red-orange Torii gates that line the paths up the mountain.

Fushimi Inari is dedicated to the Shinto god of rice and as Foxes (Kitsune きつね) are believed to be Inari’s messengers the shrine is protected by many Fox statues. Foxes in Japanese folklore are considered to be highly intelligent Yokai - Mystical beings - with incredible shape shifting and magical abilities. The Fox is probably the most common and respected Yokai in Japanese folklore commonly depicted as white with red markings and multiple tails.

Top tips

Plan to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Travel groups will visit during the day and it becomes incredibly busy, however, travel further up the hill and the crowd thins out fairly quickly. For a different prospective try visiting at night - the paths and outside of the buildings are lit up. Beware of ghosts!

Wear comfortable shoes. There are many, many stairs to climb (even to get to the entry).

Walk around the outer trails. You’ll get a glimpse of just how impressive the Torii gates really are, it’s less busy and there are beautiful gardens to see.

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