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