Welcome to the world famous Fushimi Inari shrine!
The photograph above is taken right outside the JR Inari station – the shrine is literally opposite the station! Perfect!
Fushimi Inari shrine is famous for its thousands of read torii gates (like the above) lining Mount Inari! There are estimates of over 10,000 gates in total, it’s insane.
There are many statues of foxes around the shrine, as they are believed to be the messengers of the god Inari.
The grounds are free to enter, and you are able to walk around to your heart’s content! Whether that means climbing the mountain trail, or sticking closer to the earth, where the torii gates are close together.
Like many shrines in Japan, it’s bloody wonderful to marvel.
It only makes sense that the shrine most famous for torii gates features many grand torii gates upon entry to the grounds.
You can pick up maps in multiple languages from various spots on the grounds, to make sure you don’t go off trail and make sure you see everything you want!
It’s hard to go off trail, however as you’ll see, much of our trek was in the dark, and so it WAS very easy to go off trail.
I may have found an abandoned part of the mountain and ran away in fear. All in due course.
If you’re a fan of the colour red, you came to the right place.
You can see more fox (kitsune) statues above.
Take note of how busy it is! Fushimi Inari is VERY popular, the crowd does thin the further you walk however.
These ‘main’ areas of the shrine are impeccably clean and vibrant!
You can see just how densely packed the torii are this low down on the mountain.
You can ‘buy’ torii gates by donating large amounts of money, starting from 400,000 yen and going all the way over 1,000,000.
One section had little models of various torii gates! There are many stops along the way, including rest stops, vending machines, and according to my research food vendors, but we didn’t see any of these.
Tell me this doesn’t look like the loading screen of a video game as you reach a new area?!
I adored this area, it was build up of small shrine models and many short, steep staircases – some of which lead to nowhere. It was brilliant to have a quick explore of.
See that little staircase? It was one of the only ways back onto the main trail from the above area, meaning my route took a lot of clambering over broken paving flags and stones until I could make it back.
This little lake was on the edge of a rest stop, featuring some vending machines which sell wildy overpriced drinks, however as Fae pointed out, they must have to get the drinks up the mountain somehow, that’s gotta be costly.
At this point the trail split off into two, and it keeps forking from there. If you wanted to see the entire trail, I imagine that would take the best part of a day, and be bloody well tiring.
I continued from this point alone, and it began to get darker and creepier. Whilst I’m a Gryffindor, I’m still a wimp.
Another ‘rest stop’ featured a smaller shrine. I think there are a fair few dotted over Mount Inari.
These charms are to ward off demons I believe.
These two pics are horrifically blurry because it was so dark at this point. This was an area that had fell into disrepair and it was pretty much pitch black, somehow my camera managed to get a lot of light in, but it was scary. I don’t get scared that often and I was alone and bricking it, half way up a mountain in Japan at night. It was bloody terrifying. I could barely see the light of the trail behind me and could only see broken parts of a shrine dotted around me.
I think the blur somehow makes them creepier.
Headed back towards civilisation.
You can see that Fushimi Inari is still busy rather late at night!
I wish we had had enough time to explore the full mountain, it is massive. I walked up for probably close to an hour and still wasn’t halfway on just one of the pathways!
One of my main goals if I ever return to Japan is to spend a full day exploring the mountain and finding as many tori gates as possible.
Until next time Fushimi Inari!
Catch up on the rest of my Japan posts here: