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, a ward in Kyoto that is home to the famous Fushimi Inari Taisho temple complex with its picturesque rows of Torii Gates and most importantly, not have a closing time.
What is a Torii?
A Torii is basically a gateway that you usually see marking the entrance of a Shinto temple in Japan – more on wikipedia. They are usually bright vermillon/orange in colour and look a lot like the Kanji character for ‘door’.
Inari is one of the gods of the Shinto religion – the patron of rice and business and is worshiped by merchants and businessmen for wealth. 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.
The sheer number of Torii gates at Fushimi Inari Taisho has resulted in a very long winding path that snakes up the slope. The further you walk and the higher you climb, the less people you will get photobombing you. Some bits have more densely packed Torii while others were more spaced out.
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.
Overall Fushimi Inari is a nice stopover, especially if you’re all ‘templed-out’ from the various other 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.
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. The shop lady gave us both some fox face wafer biscuits for free!
How to get to Fushimi Inari Taisho
Fushimi Inari doesn’t have a closing time or an entrance fee, 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 – ok they are lit but still it’s not great lighting for photos – 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 that took about 10 mins and 200 yen.