Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto, founded in 711 AD.
The shrine is most known for its vermilion torii gates leading two and a half miles up a small mountain.
The red torii gates are one of the most iconic sights in Kyoto. The tradition of donating a torii gate to the shrine began during the Edo period (1603-1868).
Donations were made for a prayer or for a prayer being answered. Individuals and companies can make a donation and you’ll see their name on the back of the gate. A small gate starts at around four thousand dollars.
Vermilion Red Color
The vermilion red color of the torii gates is used in many shrines and temples in Japan. The color is considered to be a talisman against evil forces and protects the wood from weathering.
Fushimi Inari is the head shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice and prosperity. There are around 30,000 sub shrines all over Japan. It is also the protector of Samurai warriors, so Inari shrines are often found near castles.
The fox or kitsune is a feature of Inari Shrines as they are messengers from the god Inari.
The current structure of the main shrine was built in 1499. Before making your way to the torii gates, you should pay your respect by making a small offering at the main shrine.
The hike up Mount Inari takes you through thousands of vermilion torii gates. It’s an easy hike that is open all year, and takes about three hours. It is free to enter the shrine and torii gates.
The grounds have been considered a sacred area and a place for worship for over a thousand years. Remember to act respectfully while visiting the shrine. See the official website for more information.
- No sitting down on the steps or the ground
- No eating or drinking, except in designated areas
- No smoking
- Don’t leave personal items unattended, including strollers
- No shouting
- Don’t write on the torii gates
- Don’t enter restricted areas
- Take your garbage with you.
How to Get There
From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara Line for five minutes to Inari Station.
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