After an afternoon in Arashiyama, we didn’t have much time to visit many other places as most of the stuff in Japan closes at 4-5pm, even in the summer. We headed off to Fushimi Inari, famous for its rows of Torii Gates and most importantly, did not have a closing time.
If you’re wondering what a Torii is, this is what it is:
You’ll usually see one of these marking the front of a Shinto temple in Japan, and wikipedia has unearthed quite a fascination amount of information regarding the types and origins of Torii if you’re interested to read more.
Here’s the Torii marking the entrance of Fushimi Inari Taisho, right as you exit the JR station:
It’s quite a large temple – it has your usual shrines to pray at and it’s got many fox statues, said to be the messenger from the gods and often found in Inari shrines.
But what really makes Fushimi Inari unique is the sheer number of Torii that they have, behold:
According to the web, Inari is the patron of business and is worshipped by merchants and businessmen for wealth, which thus explains the prevalence of the zillions of Torii gates here. Each of the Torii at Fushimi Inari is donated by a company and is replaced every ten years, though we did spot Torii that were looking a little worse for wear and others that had been removed from their spots.
Anyway there are just SO many torii we didn’t want to walk all that way. Also, it was starting to get a bit dark with the sun setting so we only only got a little past the first toilet sign (in the middle of the picture) before we decided to turn back. We did take a look around the place a bit more before we left.
We headed off to the Keihan line to catch a train to Gion. Most of the shops along the street were closed or closing, but we chanced along this little shop that sold traditional biscuits and bought some fortune cookies back for our colleagues.
Overall Fushimi Inari is a nice stopover, especially if you’re all ‘templed-out’ from the various temples that Tokyo has to offer. The Torii gates are a sight to see and it’s quite convenient to get to, so I’m quite glad we stopped by here even though we hadn’t planned to originally…
Fushimi Inari doesn’t have a closing time, but most of the shops and stuff close around the usual 5pm timing. You don’t want to get there when it’s too dark otherwise you’ll be wandering wooded pathways in the dark (the paths are lit, but still…) and the mozzies might eat you alive!
Fushimi Inari is a 10 minute ride (140 yen) along the JR Nara Line from Kyoto main station, and you’re right in front of the shrine once you exit the station. You can also take the Keihan Electric Railway line, which is a little bit further, about 5 mins away from the shrine. We took the Keihan line to Gion, took about 10 mins and 200 yen.