Found in Southern Kyoto, the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is one of the most well-known Shinto Shrines in the region. Although there are thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, Fushimi Inari Taisha is the most significant and perhaps most famous for the thousands of torii gates leading up to the main building. The picturesque path is found in the forest of Mount Inari and follows some 233 meters above sea level towards the shrine. Inari, the Shinto god of rice is believed to have a connection to foxes, communicating with them and as such there are many fox figurines and statues lining the path and around the grounds of the shrine.
The history of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine predates the move of the capital to Kyoto in 794 and once had imperial roots in the Heian period. The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine was also one of sixteen shrines included in Emperor Murakmai’s decree to include written documentation of events pertaining to the guardian kami of Japan in 965. It wasn’t until 1871 when Fushimi Inari Taisha received a designation marking it as one of the Kanpei-Taisha, part of government-recognized shrines in Japan. This rank stood until 1946.
What to See
Beyond the beauty of the Shrine and the torii gates leading up to it, part of the appeal of the shrine is the surrounding natural beauty. Since the shrine is encompassed by mountain paths and trails, it makes exploration easier to access. The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is some 233 meters above sea level and takes approximately 2 hours to access. The mountain trails pass by many smaller shrines along the way to the main building.
Upon entrance to the premises, visitors can see the Romon Gate and give offerings to honor and respect the deity. The Romon Gate is situated at the entrance of the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine which was donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1589.
One of the most exciting parts of the shrine and most recognized are the tori gates which line the hiking path. Known as Senbon Torii, rows of gates create a special experience walking up towards the shrine. Walking through the hiking trails through the torii gates and admiring the fox statues along the way to the shrine is just as much a part of the experience as visiting the shrine itself.
How To Visit
The absolute best way to explore this iconic landmark is with a Fushimi Inari guided tour. Avoid the crowds and follow your guide through a secret path through the enchanting bamboo forest to the shrine’s back entrance. While you stare out at the breathtaking mountain views, your local expert will teach you about the site’s history and significance.
If you would rather join the masses and do it yourself, it is easiest to access Fushimi Inari Taisha via the JR Inari Station. Take the JR Nara Line from Kyoto Station. Once at JR Inari Station, Fushimi Inari Shrine can be reached by foot, just a few minutes of walking.
Open 24 hours a day, with no closures
Admission is free
Peak hours tend to be between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. For less crowded visiting times it is best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.