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Fushimi Inari Taisha

Perhaps the most famous of all Shintō shrines, Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine lies at the southwestern hills of Kyōto City, at the foot of Mt. Inari. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the fox god of fertility, rice, tea, sake, agriculture, and industry. It is the head shrine of some 32,000 Inari shrines located throughout Japan.
While Fushimi Inari has been an iconic image of Japan for decades, the shrine’s popularity surged since the early 2010s, with the area being among the top 3 most-visited sightseeing spots in all of Japan in pre-Covid times. Ten years ago, I would have advised you to visit the shrine in late afternoon, as most of the visitors were gone by that time. Yet, due to Instagram and other social media, this advise proves useless today, as the shrine has also seen a large influx of young Japanese visitors over the last few years.
Rather than the actual main hall, the “thousand Torii gates” (千本鳥居) leading to the inner sanctuary are what most visitors associate with the shrine. From there, one can hike around Mt. Inari, as the whole mountain constitutes a shrine, and the path is lined by red gates and small shrines. Climbing a full round takes 1–2 hours, but is worth the effort, especially on a sunny day.
If you happen to be in Kyōto in late July, make sure to visit the Motomiya Festival. For two days, lanterns are placed all around the shrine. The festival is perhaps the closest feeling of a busty Japanese Matsuri in all of Kyōto, as most rites in the city remain rather aristocratic in their nature.

Admission: grounds open 24/7.
Nearby places of interest: Tōfuku-ji and sub-temples, Chūshojima Area.

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

The world-famous thousand Torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Main Shrine and Torii 本殿周辺と千本鳥居
Hiking Mt. Inari 稲荷山
Motomiya Festival 本宮祭
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