One of the most popular photographs you will find in a magazine or travel guide about Japan is of the famous red Torii gate, it is a symbol that stands out proud. And there is hardly a better place to get up close with Torii Gates than the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
Day 48 – April 20th, 2014.
We made our way to Kyoto to go and see the Fushimi Inari Shrine vermillion Torii gates.
First we took the subway then local train to Shin Osaka where we purchased some items to eat on the way, people are already queuing waiting for the stores to open.
Then on the Shinkansen to Kyoto and finally the local train towards Nara for two stops where you get off at Inari.
The Inari station is directly outside this shrine, as soon as you pull into the station you can see plenty of red and black with specks of gold from the shrines.
Today being Easter Sunday the place is packed and a ceremony is going on, offerings of food are being passed within the shrine area for blessing.
About 10 floats are displayed on the backs of trucks, similar to Takayama spring festival but in no way as impressive.
Up some steps and directly to the left of the main building you can see lots of mini bright red Torii gates all hung up with messages written on. You purchase them at the window of this building along with any other souvenir you desire.
“lots of mini bright red Torii gates all hung up with messages written on”
Moni writes on one for us and then buys a mini torii gate charm 1800 Yen which is expensive, but on the other side of the coin, the entry to the shrine area is free so I guess that’s like buying entry in a way.
“Torii Gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto”
You can walk around this area past a few buildings and then up some steps to the right, this is where you will see the first of the big red Torii gates.
There are many people around and trying to capture a photo with no one in it is a challenge.
The row of Torii gate soon divides in two and you can walk either side, we chose the left side probably because the other was having more people walking towards us.
The whole walk up through the Torii gates is just that, gate after gate after gate, all very close together at the beginning with them becoming spaced out the further up you walk. You can read even more about the Fushimi Inari Shrine on the Japan Guide website.
On one side is an inscription a message and some have the person or persons who have donated to have one there. Some look very clean and new while others have rot in and are in need of repair.
“Torii gates extend as far as you can see”
At the point where the double line of Torii gates end you could turn and go back the other side if you wish, we continued on up to the left no longer a double line but a single line of Torii gates extend as far as you can see.
later on there is another right turn which takes you even further until the Torii gates end, basically you are at the top. From here you can either go the same way back or as we did go down following another path past a few shrines down to the street level, the whole walk took about an hour and a half. You can go even further up and take in the view over the city if you wish.
“We were hungry and got some very delicious and cheap noodles”
In the end you arrive back where you started at the steps of the main shrine, where the floats are getting ready to leave, from here we leave the Fushimi Inari Shrine and walk through the village, a street stall is busy selling some hot noodles and feeling hungry after that walk we buy some from that stall, boy they are very delicious and cheap, a big serve for 500 Yen fills us both keeping up with being able to eat cheaply in Japan, we highly recommended it.
Past a few shops, we walk before Moni finds a scarf that she likes, with that purchase complete and rain starting to dampen things we walk in the direction of the station only to pass a small coffee place.
“This coffee place is where we have our flat whites which are made to perfection”
YES and after talking with this barista we find out that he lived in Melbourne for many years so understood exactly what we were after, he told us that he makes many a day for lots of tourists.
At the end of the street we watch the trucks with the floats drive by on parade, really nothing special so we then continue back to the station and on our way to Kyoto where we will look for a bus to get to Gion, and if we’re lucky we might get tickets to see the Miyako Odori presentation. I’ll continue in a new blog post.