Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is built for the worship of the Inari Okami (the god of agriculture and commerce), and is also the head of the Inari Shrines, which is home to more than 40,000 sub-shrines all over Japan. Located in the southeast of Kyoto, the famous Senbon Torii (1,000 torii gates) is here.

Visitors can get off at Inari Station on the JR Nishi Nara Line or Fushimi Inari Station on the Keihan Electric Railway.

Fushimi Inari Station on the Keihan Electric Railway in Kyoto, Japan
Fushimi Inari Station on the Keihan Electric Railway in Kyoto, Japan

We got off at Fushimi Inari Subway Station, walked over the railway, crossed a bridge, passed a small section of street vendors and climbed up a slightly uphill pilgrimage. On the road, you can see the stone pillar that says Fushimi Inari Shrine. We went a little further, soon, it was Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Stone pillar that says Fushimi Inari Shrine on the uphill pilgrimage
Stone pillar that says Fushimi Inari Shrine on the uphill pilgrimage

The building that first came into view was the two-storied gate (Rōmon) of the shrine, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to pray for his mother to recover. It is the largest scale of this kind of shrine.

The building that first came into view was the two-storied gate (Rōmon) of the shrine.
The building that first came into view was the two-storied gate (Rōmon) of the shrine.
Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Worship regular route map at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Worship regular route map at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The two-storied gate (Rōmon) of the shrine, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to pray for his mother to recover.
The two-storied gate (Rōmon) of the shrine, which was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to pray for his mother to recover.

The Azumamaro Shrine next to it was originally designed to commemorate the Japanese scholar Hiroshi Harada in the middle of the Edo period. Nowadays, it is the blessing of the students who are seeking good test results.

Next, I saw the worship hall, then the main shrine. The main shrine was once destroyed by Ōnin War (Japan entered the Warring States period after this war), and it was rebuilt in 1499 which was decades later. It is also the version what we see today. The design is filled with the pre-Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568 - 1603). The architectural atmosphere has both exuberant and beautiful features, and is currently designated as an important national cultural heritage by Japan.

The worship hall of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The worship hall of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Worshipers at main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Worshipers at main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

The erected torii is said to have originated from the custom of the Edo period (1603 - 1867) in Japan. People who wished to donate often wish to erect a torii in the shrine to express their respect for the gods, so today at Fushimi Inari Taisha, you can see such amazing number of torii. The "Senbon Torii" is famous throughout Japan and overseas.

Torii shaped Ema at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Torii shaped Ema at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Tamayama Inarisha that is located behind the Main Shrine
Tamayama Inarisha that is located behind the Main Shrine
Heading to Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Heading to Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

In Japan, the mention of the vermillion torii will make people think of "Inari Shrine". The "Inari shrine-painting" painted with cinnabar has become a custom, and cinnabar can be preserved, both beautiful and practical. These are great features.

It takes about 2 to 3 hours to hike Inariyama for a round trip. There are many shinseki (site of former shrine, where a deity remains) and hohaisho (prayer building) along the Senbon Torii: Okusha Hohaisho, Kumatakasha, Sannomine (Shimosha Shinseki), Ainomine (Kadasha Shinseki), Ninomine (Nakasha Shinseki), Ichinomine (Kamisha Sinseki), Mitsurugisha (Chojasha Shinseki), Gozendani Hohaisho, Kiyotaki and so on.

The entrance of Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The entrance of Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Tourists in Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Tourists in Senbon Torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha has been donated by a Japanese business
Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha has been donated by a Japanese business
A shrine for Hakutama Okami, Oiwa Okami and Fukushi Okami at Inariyama
A shrine for Hakutama Okami, Oiwa Okami and Fukushi Okami at Inariyama

Foxes seen by the shrine are the messengers (kindreds) of the "Inari Okami". However, the messengers are not foxes in the mountains. Like the great god Okami, they are not visible to the eyes of our mortals, so these foxes are also called "white foxes".

A fox statue sits next to the main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
A fox statue sits next to the main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
The Fukumi Inari Shrine's thousand Senbon Torii, the foxes are the messengers of the Inari God, and most people can't see them.
The Fukumi Inari Shrine's thousand Senbon Torii, the foxes are the messengers of the Inari God, and most people can't see them.

On the way back, you can visit the street vendors and stores along the road, and there will always be unexpected surprises.

Street vendors along the Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Street vendors along the Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Crab sticks street vendor at the Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Crab sticks street vendor at the Ura Sandō of Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Kyouzuan Tofu Ice Cream Shop near Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
Kyouzuan Tofu Ice Cream Shop near Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

Map

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine