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Journey to Fushimi Inari Shrine

I was in Japan for a few days, I was torn between staying the whole time in Tokyo or Osaka. I wanted to stay in the former because I had friends to meet there, while the latter was a place I was more interested in because of its history and culture. In the end I decided to go to both places, which was a rushed trip because I only had five days total in Japan.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

I heard about and saw pictures of Fushimi Inari Shrine and made up my mind that I will visit this place as soon as I make it to Kyoto. The journey to the city was an adventure in itself; it took around 4 hours of riding and switching trains and going in different direction before I finally arrived.

The shrine is at the base of a mountain and was, since early Japan, seen as the patron of business. Manufacturers and merchants have traditionally worshiped Inari. Inari is also known as the god of rice.

I decided to visit the shrine as early as possible to avoid the deluge of crowds that would want to explore and take pictures. I arrived before 9AM and only a handful of people trickled in, I was able to walk through the tori gates with few people coming and going.

It was quite surreal to walk through the gates. I imagined ancient Japanese walking through them and offering their best to their gods. The short hike up was a cleansing of sorts, the ascending up the cemented steps, leaving a part of yourself behind each time you enter a different level.

Aside from the gates, the shrine had various temples as you move up the mountain complex. Fushimi Inari Shrine is a great place to relax and enjoy nature. You could spend half a day here just listening to the sound of rusting leaves or the wind whistling.

When Night Falls

I did not only visit Fushimi Inari in the morning, but I was also curious to see it at night. It was eerily different compared to when the sun shone on it.

Food stalls that lined the street leading up to the temple provided sparse lighting; their smell of barbecue permeated the air and half attempts of store owners looking for customers just about to close.

The temples and gates looked different at night, their orange exterior glowing in the darkness.

It was a bit spooky walking through the gates at night with only the flicker of lamp lights guiding you. The same rustling of leaves, blowing of the wind and sound of insects felt different, I felt like something ancient was lurking in the shadows.

Exploring Fushimi Inari Shrine at night is a different experience, but I would still recommend a visit at night and in the morning.

How to Get to Fushimi Inari Shrine

Japan is a very easy country to explore because there are buses and trains that will take you to famous spots hassle-free. The shrine has its own station in Kyoto, just alight there and walk towards the shrine, it's easy to find once you start walking.

Read more about Kyoto here: Guide to Kyoto.

1 comment:

  1. wow! very nice and good for you... I wanted to go there in Japan too but it's expensive! (^_^)