Fushimi Inari, the #1 tourist spot of Japan (as per TripAdvisor). But who cares what TripAdvisor says, am I right?
Fushimi Inari is one of those very iconic shrines that you see pictures of when you research what to do in Kyoto. You can’t miss the rows of orange toriis (those pillar things, no direct translation in English).
I didn’t even know it was the #1 most popular tourist site in Japan, until I saw the TripAdvisor flags saying so at one of the entrance/exit gates. It was a nice shrine, but I don’t know if I would say that this is the most amazing site in Japan. To each his own, right? However, it is definitely a very, very busy site, and I also saw a lot of locals enjoying it.
Got off the metro station and had to cross a railway crossing.
There are shops and food stands before you get to the shrine. Every famous shrine will have a commercialized area.
Lots of fox-related souvenirs. Foxes are supposed to be the messengers of this shrine. I’m not sure what that means.
After you pass by some souvenir shops, there is a path of these food tents. The orange ahead is the shrine.
Bought some warm mochi with soybean powder before starting off the shrine walk.
I went on a semi-rainy day. It was sunny, but it was cold and there were those annoying 2-minute spots of light rain that kept coming and going. Despite being a Wednesday, it was very crowded with locals and tourists alike, and the further I went up the mountains, the crowd thinned. Yes, this is a hike (I didn’t know that until I actually got there), and you will require proper shoes. The stone steps are pretty smooth, and can get slippery on a rainy day. I slipped a few times despite wearing my Nikes, and almost fell to my death.
The total hike (up and down) takes around an hour and a half, depending on how much circling and picture-taking you do.
Lots of people with profesh-looking cameras. A lot of great photo ops at the shrine.
The path at the beginning.
Fox statues errwhere.
Torii gates that make up the path.
Fox-shaped wish plaques. You can draw the expression.
Maps will be along the path
See how the “torii”s can be different in height? I started to wonder what these gates are supposed to represent…
According to my quick Google search, these torii gates are built by the donations paid for by patrons when their wish comes true. So, let’s say I would frequent the shrine and pray for my new mochi shop to take off, because my grandma has a back that needs surgery, I got 4 mouths to feed, I sold my car and quit my salaried job because of my passion for mochi, and I really need this to work. When my mochi business finally takes off, I pay some money to the shrine that will put it towards building a torii, as a way of thanks to the higher power for my wish coming true. That’s how I understood it…
I was wondering how the donations vs. torii heights worked, then I saw this sign. The height of the torii gate you pay for depends on the yen range your donation falls on. To pay for the tallest gate, you would have to donate at least 1,302,000 yen (approx $12,000 USD).
So I’m guessing the donors get to decide what to put on the torii. Maybe it’s their names, dates, and the wish that came true. What the hell do I know what they say, I don’t read Japanese! Some torii gates were obviously very old, and some were brand new.
View of Kyoto at a resting area during my hike up. There are vending machines along the way, and shops that sell tea and traditional snacks.
Reached the summit!!!!
Beasts of the forest have clawed away at the base of many torii gates. I saw workmen repairing another one of the really badly maimed ones. This is the worst I saw. I’m sure they’ll get to this one.
Kitsune (fox) fountain statue along the hike down.
View of Kyoto during my hike down, at the same resting area as before. Gloomy with all those rain clouds.
Back at the beginning of the route. Total hike took me 1.5 hours.
NOW IT’S TIME TO EATTTTTTTTTTTTTT
500 yen street okonomiyaki. Raindrops on my jeans.
Gross close-up of my hot and tasty okonomiyaki.
Custard taiyaki for 150 yen. Barely any custard inside. Blergh. Waste of money and stomach space.
Chicken thigh and leek yakitori stick, 500 yen. Should have said “no” to the overly salty sauce.
Beef yakitori. There were way too much fat chunks, but I saw a Japanese teenager raving about how delicious this was.
Fatty beef yakitori…500 yen. It was too much fat for one person, and got hard quickly on a cold day.
I highly recommend Fushimi Inari if you’re in Kyoto. A great 1.5 hour hike in the mountains of an iconic shrine. Bring proper, non-slippery shoes and go early in the morning to try and avoid the sea of people.
The food was meh…I am aware it’s street food, but the quality was pretty low for street food in Japan. I could have taken that money and sat at an actual restaurant and had a leisurely lunch.