Fushimi Inari Taisha

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Culture-Temple

Another of the great symbols of Kyoto, the trailing red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha are not to be missed. While the crowds at the lower levels can be a bit much, the further up the mountain you go, the fewer people you’ll see, so putting some more time aside to explore will really pay off. The scale of the temple may surprise you as there’s more to it than a few gates - the shrine precinct holds the main complex and the entirety of the 233m tall Mt. Inari. At the foot of the site visitors are welcomed by the 16th century Romon Gate and the main shrine building which is actually home to five individual shrines. Along with the lower, middle and upper shrines are Tanaka and Shino Okami auxiliary shrines. The enshrined deity Inari is the god of rice, with a modern connection to business and prosperity - which explains the number of gates. During the Edo period it became common for torii gates to be used as offerings to deities in hope of good fortune. When you pass through the trails take a look at the names written on the backs of each gate - these are the businesses or people who donated to the shrine. There are bright maps showing the gate-covered mountain routes, and the famous forked path you’ll no doubt have seen is found early on. Beyond this, you can continue to the Yotsusuji Intersection with city views. After this the trails will be even quieter, with smaller shrines and a more dilapidated feel until you reach the top (no views here though). Personally I really enjoy the trip to the top, but be sure to head down before it gets dark - the paths are uneven and can become slippery. The food stalls and restaurants at the base of the shrine are a great spot to try the local specialities of inari-sushi (rice in a sweet tofu-skin) or Kitsune Udon (noodles with deep-fried tofu). The fried tofu, known as aburage is considered a favourite of the foxes who are Inari’s messengers, easily spotted in statue form at shrines across Japan. [Images: 1. Wise Traveler/Pixabay, 2. LCB, 3. LCB, 4. LCB]
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  • 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan
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    Family friendly
    Tourist must-do

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