Fushimi Inari-Taisha (also know as the fox temple) is quite the unique temple which is dedicated to Inari the god of rice. Since early Japan however Inari has also been seen as the patron of business, merchants, and manufactures. What I found fascinating was the number of fox statues that where at the temple – this was because foxes are regarded as the messengers and are often found at Inari temples.
Although there are many shrines across Japan dedicated to Inari Fushimi Inari-Taisha is the head shrine and because of this it is quite the sight to behold. The shrine has several temples and places to worship all across the mountain, and is quite spectacular from the moment you catch a glimpse of the towering Torii gate and the main temple.
Although the temples at the base are fascinating the main draw of Fushimi Inari-Taisha is the Torii tunnel – several pathways leading up the mountain containing more Torii gate than you can count. It is quite the sight to behold as the path is literally covered in thousands of Torii gate, most of which have been donated from businesses across Japan, due to Inari being the patron of business.
The climb is rather special as you walk through this Torii tunnel to the peak of the mountain which provides (in all honesty) a mediocre view over Kyoto which I found a little disappointing. The walk alone is enough draw in my opinion and the beauty of this place makes it a very special place to visit.
It’s easy to get “templed out” in Japan due to the countless number of temples that are literally everywhere, however Fushimi Inari-Taisha is a must see and although it will take the best part of a day to see it is well worth the time investment.
Fushimi Inari-Taisha is a little way out of the centre of Kyoto and requires you to take the train. The shrine is just a short walk from Kejhan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station. You can also take the JR Nara Line to Inari Station (just a 5 minute ride from Kyoto Station.