Saturday, 14 May 2016

Fushimi Inari Taisha, A Night Visit

Mid-September last year, we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha during our trip for my birthday run in Tango Ultra-marathon.

On day two of our trip, we spent the day visiting Arashiyama and allocated time for the shrine in the evening.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is an important Shinto shrine in Kyoto and famous for the rows and rows (thousands) of vermilion torii gates that lead into the sacred Mount Inari.

Visiting the shrine at night is a totally different experience from visiting it during the day and with less visitors around (there were just a few and we almost got the place to ourselves), one gets to spend quiet time at the shrine and contemplate more.
The shrine is dedicated to Inari; the Shinto the god of rice and sake and foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers which is why we could see foxes dotting the shrine complex. 

Seen in the fox's mouth is the key to the rice granaries. 
Stern foxes guarding the gates can be seen quite a lot at Fushimi Inari Taisha.
Beware visitors. While foxes are considered helpful, they are known to bewitch people too. ^^
From the entrance we walked into the main shrine building (honden) and made our way to the back of the building to the entrance of the hiking trail with  rows and rows of torii gates covering it, called the Senbon Torii (thousands of torii gates).
There are two parallel row of gates and we just chose one to enter.

Yeah, we brought along our headlamps just in case in got really dark. But we actually switched it on more because we need the lighting to take photos. 
The gates along the trail has inscriptions on it. These torii gates are donated and the donator's name and date of donation inscribed on the pillars.
With the donation starting from 400,000 for a small sized gates to millions for a large one. We saw those really itsy bitsy torii gates too. 

The trail can feel quite eerie if I'm doing this alone. Eerie but strangely calming too.
According to guide books, the hike should take around 2-3 hours from the start to the peak and back down so although I was at first skeptical about covering the stairs up to the peak; what with an utra-marathon in two days' time and all, we walked up the stairs. 

But I told Hubby that we're NOT going to push it.

Learnt my lesson after hiking Mount Takao two days before Fujisan Marathon with a bad knee. Hur hur
Some were steep. Some were flat.
There were a few young couple out for a date. A group of foreign visitors with their guide. And a lone runner doing his training.
A quiet night and we were left with mostly our thoughts while we tackled the stairs.
Ema at one of the mid-way shrines.

With anime illustration.
Halfway up and we were greeted with this view of the city at the Yotsutsuji Intersection.

Yup, we have a bit more to cover.

Going down later, we chose an easier route for our walk back and avoided much of the stairs and tackled the pavement instead. 
 A road crossing where the train track pass-by too.

The night was already very quiet when we finished our visit.
And what else to do?

Head to the station, hop on a train and return to our hotel to rest.

The next day we were travelling to Toyooka where we stayed for two nights. It was our base as we needed to stay somewhere near to the starting line of Tango Ultra Marathon.

That, in my next post.

I sure hope I'll update my blog sooner than how long this post took. ^^!


  1. Hi! Nice post of your Fushimi Inari Shrine. I hope you will have a nice chance for Tango Ultra marathon.

  2. One of the most famous places in Kyoto. I think night would be a good time to visit it to beat the crowds and the views and scenery would look different as well compared to the day.

    1. Indeed. Visiting both during the day and night totally gives different vibe.

  3. Wow! Wow! Wow! This shrine is definitely more beautiful at night as spot lightings often could enhance the structures and monuments prominently. I do hope I could visit Kyoto for the 3rd time and venture there after dark. Very cantek and nice photos.

    1. It's a different experience visiting during the day and night.

      You must visit it in the evening too, one day. :)


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