Dec
3
2011

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

I visited Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto right after going to Momoyama Castle.

Actually this was not my first time going to Fushimi Inari Shrine. I’ve been there once in September 2007. At that time it was extremely hot!
Still it was one of my favorite memories of Japan back then. That was before I had moved to Japan permanently.
This time the climate was much nicer and so it was also easier to walk / hike!

smilie Visited: November 3rd 2011 smilie

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

The main gate of the Fushimi Inari Shrine: it’s just a short walk from the JR Inari station or the Keihan Fushimiinari station.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

As I went there on a national holiday there were a lot of people. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too nice. Very cloudy.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

In November there is a festival called “7-5-3 Day” (七五三, shichi-go-san) which is for kids aged 3, 5 or 7. They visit shrines with their families wearing cute kimonos.
Of course I ran into some of them on my way. So cute!

More information:
Actually it’s 3 and 7 years old for girls as well as 3 and 5 years old for boys. The actual day for this festival is November 15th, but you can see a lot of Japanese families even before that (not everybody has time on that one day only, I suppose).
Not only the kids but also the rest of the family is usually dressed in their best kimono and hakama (for men) and they thank the gods for the blessings so far and wish for happiness and health for their children for the future.
Kids get also candy called “Chitose-ame” (1000 year candy).

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Getting closer to the actual main shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Apparently only the little girl was dressed up.
The mother has a plastic bag with a “Shichi-go-san” print on it and I’m pretty sure there’s the candy I mentioned earlier in it.
The father was busy taking photos of his daughter :D

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

It looks deserted, but actually there were millions of people on that day!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

All “Inari” shrines, Fushimi Inari Shrine being the biggest in Japan, worship the god “Inari”.
Although it’s mainly Shinto (the original Japanese religion) shrines that worship that deity, there are also some Buddhist temples that do!
More than one-third of all Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari!

Inari shrines can usually easily be identified by fox statues and red gates!
In the photo above you see one of the many “kitsune” (fox) statues at Fushimi Inari Shrine.
The foxes are said to be messengers of the god “Inari”.
By the end of this blog entry you’ll hopefully understand how big the biggest Inari Shrine actually is!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

In Japan it is believed that if you fold 1000 paper cranes it will heal any sickness.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

The main symbol of Fushimi Inari Shrine: the red gates – here the mini version of it. They are used as ema.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for its 20398429 million red gates lining up to lead to some other smaller shrines on the way.
Some movies were shot there as well. One of the most well-known movies is “Memoirs of a Geisha“.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

As there were so many people who day it was a bit difficult to get photos without any people in them.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Yet a really mystical atmosphere!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

And we’re out again to be in front of another smaller shrine. Most people stop here if they don’t have much time and then go back.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

On the wooden plaques where you can write your wishes and hopes down is usually a picture on one side. Here you can draw your own picture, well at least the face of the fox! Very amusing!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

There are like 100 spots where you can stop and pray. However, you shouldn’t be allergic to red gates or you’re in serious trouble!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Filled sweet tofu “bags”, also known as “Inari sushi” and alcohol. “Inari-zushi” is said to be the favorite dish of the foxes.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Going deeper into the forest. If you want to you can spend there almost a whole day!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

You can escape the red gates going left and right as there are also smaller shrines in the forest, like the one above.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Not only red gates, but also a lot of bigger and smaller stone gates are everywhere!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

All of the gates have something written in kanji on them. That’s because they were donated and so they have their donator’s name (often companies) on them.
Some of them seem to be quite old already.
Or the cats have been eating them? Can you see it?

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Close-up.
There are a LOT of stray cats there. I was actually surprised because when I first visited in 2007 I barely saw any!?

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Dragon ponds where you can wash your hands and mouth before praying.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

The coolest thing I found at Fushimi Inari Shrine was this fox pond!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

And here we go again, deeper and higher!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Like I mentioned earlier there are REALLY millions of smaller shrines!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Too many red gates and fox statues already? Then you really underestimated Fushimi Inari Shrine!! We’re not quite there yet!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Aren’t they interesting, though? I really love taking close-ups of them!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Another fox statue and even more small red gates. By the way, you can buy the smaller red gates (actually smaller than the ones on the photo) as souvenir!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Another dragon pond. I really liked that one. It looks funny and not scary like most of the others. Kind of reminds me of Falkor (Fuchur) of The Neverending Story (“Die unendliche Geschichte”). Anybody still knows that?

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Back at the Yotsutsuji intersection there were cool drinks for people in need. Quite cool setting up the drinks like that!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

From the intersection you have quite a nice view.
Most people manage to go as far as that and then go back but as you can see in all the photos above I took the whole loop tour (takes about 40 minutes). There are some bigger shrines on the way where you can get seals for your shrine seal book, too!
It is quite a walk and if you’re short on time then it’s better if you skip. I had to give up somewhere around the intersection when I first visited in summer 2007 because it was just far too hot.
Now, many years later in November it had just the right temperature!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

On my way back I ran into quite a few stray cats again! So cute!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

I took a different route back down to the main shrine and so I ran into yet some more smaller shrines.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Very colorful stone statues.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Almost back down again, I ran into an army of mini fox statues!! (O__O”) …

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Female statues next to the shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

Yet another stray cat. Am totally in love with the eyes!!! The cat wasn’t that amused being stalked by me, it seems!

Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto

One last shot and I left Fushimi Inari Shrine to go to the 3rd destination of that day.
First I visited Momoyama Castle, then I headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine.
At last I went to Tofukuji. I’ll write another blog entry about that soon!

TOURIST INFORMATION

Open: Admission: Required time: Access: TEL.:
always open free 0.5-2.5h JR Inari Sta. or
Keihan Fushimi Inari Sta.
075-641-7331

You can visit all three in one day as well – probably even more as I started my journey quite late that day!

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