Maybe you didn’t notice, but on our Japan Bucket List, visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto was crossed off. Most of the bullets on that list will have a link directing you to a correlating blog post I wrote, but I didn’t write a particular post about Fushimi Inari Taisha. We actually went to Kyoto last year in November, a short day trip which we ended up spending with some new friends that Trevor made while I was at a business trip. (We hope to visit you in Switzerland soon Elena and Max!!! <3)
I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks this, but Kyoto is one of my favorite places in Japan. There’s something about this ancient capital that I think makes it stand out from other cities like Osaka and Tokyo. When most people think “Japan,” they immediately think “Tokyo,” but for me, I see Kyoto as the true essence of Japan, much more so than Tokyo.
I’ve been to Kyoto before years ago, so this trip was Trevor’s first time. The two of us met up with Elena and Max at Kyoto Station and then took a local train to Fushimi. Prior to this, we couldn’t decide if we wanted to go to Fushimi (famous for the thousands of vermilion tori gates) or head to Arashiyama (famous for beautiful bamboo scenery). We ultimately decided on Fushimi Inari- who doesn’t want to take the chance to capture photos of those famous gates?
Because Kyoto is such a popular destination, you can expect crowds of tourists around the area. Getting through the start of the Senbon Tori (1000 torii gates) gates can be a struggle because everyone else wants to walk through as well. Expect to move slowly around this part, and sudden stops can occur because people will want to hold up the crowd to take pictures…
There are thousands of vermilion tori gates lined along the mountain, and you can attempt to hike to the top. There are plenty of maps and rest stops so that you can mentally prepare yourself should you decide to continue to venture upwards. Most people will turn around and return to the entrance after the first set or so of gates. So the further you go up, the less crowds you can see. It was good for us because the less people there were, the better chances there were for us to get some really cool pictures.
Along the way, you’ll notice a pattern of foxes. The gods of Inari take the form of kitsune- hence the many foxes you’ll see when you visit this classic area of Kyoto.
Unfortunately, on this day we didn’t have enough time to make it all the way up… Maybe some other time!