The Shrine with a 10 000 Toriis in Kyoto – One of Japan’s Iconic View
You probably already know this place, or at least you saw a picture of it. However, I’m sure you can’t imagine what 10,000 toriis represent. It is a walk of more than an hour, to the top of Mt Inari and down, under a single alley of toriis. It’s a crowded place and it’s ok, because it’s fantastic !
The visit begins as soon as you leave Inari station, because the neighborhood has a multitude of shops selling local specialties and street food. At the end of the street, the 1st large Torii indicates the entrance to the sanctuary Fushimi Inari. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the goddess of commerce and the keeper of homes. It is the largest sanctuary dedicated to Inari in Japan. The construction started in 711, and the sanctuary became a National Treasure in 1909.
The lower part of the shrine contains the various buildings dedicated to prayers. Here you can see and experience Buddhist rites. Going up a little, behind the buildings, the path to the 10,000 torii begins. There are several walks, and the longest goes to the top of Mt Inari (220m). It is a unique experience that I recommend, but the hike is more tiring than it seems ! Nothing impossible of course, and the higher you climb the farther away from the crowd you’ll be, ideal to feel the mystical atmosphere of the place (and to take pictures) ! You can also come early in the morning or at the end of the day to take advantage of an empty alley. At the top the view is not exceptional, even non-existent, but the small shrine is nice.
In July, the Motomiya Festival takes place at Fushimi-Inari during two days. On the first evening, hundreds of lanterns are installed on the sanctuary and the toriis. The atmosphere is unique, of another time. Some people put on fox masks in reference to the foxes found in Inari Shrines (the messengers). During daytime, you can also attend the Motomiya dance and the Taiko drum parade. I strongly recommend attending Matsuri, as you can share a moment of celebration with locals. It’s still my favorite aspect of the Japanese culture !
Access : Take the Nara Line from Kyoto Station (5min for 150 yen) or the Keihan Main Line from Gion-Shijo Station (9min for 210 yen). Both lines arrived at different stations, both located next to Fushimi-Inari.
Motomiya Festival : In July, on the following Sunday/National holiday after the day of the Ox. It’s held during two days at Fushimi-Inari.