1. Japan
  2. Fushimi Inari shrine: thousands of toriis in Kyoto
Written by Sandrine Published on 19/09/16

The shrine dedicated to Inari south of Kyoto is one of the most impressive sanctuaries in Japan. It's the Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社). Situated in Fushimi and erected in 711, the shrine stretches on a hill 233 metres above the Kyoto suburb where thousands of small red tori snake in the small mountain.

In Shinto religions, Inari is among other things the goddess of cereals (mainly rice) and trade. He is often represented by a fox, whose statue is frequently seen in the sanctuaries dedicated to him.

1Stroll under the thousands of toriis of the sanctuary Fushimi Inari in Kyoto

In Fushimi, the place is highly symbolic because it is the most important sanctuary dedicated to Inari. On arrival, a very large red torii marks the entrance to the sanctuary (just in front of the Inari railway station (JR Nara Line). The long and wide alley rises slightly and passes under a second large torii. We then arrive on a large square where the imposing buildings of the sanctuary are grouped together.

Big torii at the entrance of Fushimi Inari in Kyoto
Entrance to the sanctuary, opposite the Inari railway station (JR Nara Line)
Buildings of the Fushimi Inari sanctuary in Kyoto
The main buildings of the shrine

Look for the large signs that point to the winding trails in the mountain. These maps will help you to find your way around the sanctuary because it is huge!

Mzp Fushimi Inari - Kyoto
Map of the paths of the sanctuary in the mountain.

Follow the toriis and take the path that climbs up the mountain. The first portion is the most impressive. The tori are so tight that they form a tunnel over the path that separates in two. This portion is called "Senbon torii". On each pillar, the name of the donor who funded the torii is written. The two paths meet at the end of a few hundred meters, and the only section continues its ascent in the mountain, always under the toriis.

Fushimi Inari Sanctuary in Kyoto
The famous passage of the Senbon torii.

The more we go up and the more the toriis are spaced out, but the stroll is more than worth the effort. Sometimes, some portions are made up of very different toriis. Some are made of stone, others are more or less large and sometimes their paintings have lost their brilliance.

Torii in different shapes at the Fushimi Inari sanctuary in Kyoto
On this section, no two torii are alike!

All along the ascent, don't hesitate to venture on the small paths that start at the sides. After a few tens of meters you will arrive at small altars where you will sometimes find small wooden toriis where you can write your vows, for an offering. Some places are really charming, with their vegetation and small streams, a real haven of peace!

Zen altar of meditation - Sanctuaire Fushimi Inari à Kyoto
Small resting stop near the path.

2Information and advice to discover the Fushimi Inari sanctuary

If you are thirsty on the ascent, be reassured because you will find regularly enough drinks dispensers, but whose price increases according to the altitude;) Small stalls are also distributed over the whole course and will propose snacks, ideal also for a small break. Sanitary facilities are also present.

If you are not athletic, we recommend that you gradually climb at your own pace, as the trail is still quite long and continues to climb. Platforms allow you to breathe a little bit all along the route. It takes between 1h30 and 3h to make the whole circuit according to your pace. Bench benches were installed at the top.

The sanctuary being highly symbolic and highly prized, it is often very popular, especially at the beginning of the journey. But after a few minutes of walking, you'll be alone pretty soon.

The walk in the forest under the tori was one of the favorites of our respective trips.

3Getting to the Fushimi Inari Shrine

To get there, we advise you to take the JR since Kyoto. Take the JR Nara Line and get off at "Inari"station. The sanctuary is right across the street from the exit. Be careful, do not take express trains that do not stop at the station. You can also take the Keihan Main Line and get off at the stop "Fushimi Inari". You will then have to walk about 300 meters. You can also drive there. It is quite easy to park nearby.

Our opinion
Flo's review

Pick yourself up at the small stations, it will give you a pretext to catch your breath!

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