伏見稲荷大社 Fushimi Inari Shrine
Outdoor | Avg price: ¥2 | English Available: None (Unknown)
One of Kyoto's iconic spots, but temper your expectations
It's been years now since I visited here - I visited for the first time in 2013 and the second time in 2014. It's beautiful, of course, and one of the iconic spots in Kyoto to visit. Given that, it can be incredibly crowded, and for me I think that maybe detracted a little from the overall magic and splendor of the place. I would say it's still absolutely worth a visit, but I think tempering your expectations is important.
An Immersive Experience
Fushimi Inari Shrine is known for the hundreds of torii gates they have. One thing that not everyone is aware of is the long hike it takes to get all the way to the top. However, I see that as a charm of the place. Many shrine visits would just invite tourists to walk in, take some pictures and walk out. The trip to Fushimi Inari, however, removes you from the world and have you going through gates for quite some time. You are IN the mountain, in the shrine, in the spirits. It is a very unique experience. Just remember to bring water and maybe a towel too.
Fascinating shrine to agriculture and business
Fushimi Inari Taisha, dating from the Heian era, is not to be missed on a visit to Kyoto. The precinct is shrine upon shrine, vermillion gates offered by businesses, and sprawling grounds that continue up the hillside. What strikes me most is the fox messengers who bear the key to Inari-sama's rice storehouses. It's the connection between heaven and earth. On various visits, I got a sensory experience of the shrine - tactile, olfactory, and visual stimulation. The most impressive experience was the omakaru stones. You make a prayer and then lift the stones. If the stone is light enough to lift, your prayer has weight. If it's too heavy, rethink your goal. A treasured item from Fushimi Inari Taisha gifted to me is a tiny gold key pendant - a wish from a friend for me to achieve my goals. The shrine can be madly busy in peak periods. If you go early, you can enjoy the space at a leisurely pace.
68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882