Fushimi Inari Taisha   伏見稲荷大社

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Fushimi Inari

The torii of Fushimi Inari.

Fushimi Inari

Enter in the alley of torii of Fushimi Inari.

Along the way, an initiatory voyage

South of Kyoto, the torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha, traditional gates at the entrance to Shinto shrines, line up by the thousands in this place as a string of red and black totems through the forest.

Here the amount of tourists that you will find at Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji is rare. A little quiet, some gentle wind, some bamboo ... An auspicious start to your peaceful, two-hour walk under the trees, followed by a break in a clearing, a glass table in a small restaurant run by a Kyotoïte happy to receive you. The Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine, built in the eighth century by the Hata clan (Korean immigrants), has several unconventional honors.

Unquestionably the most unique shrine Kyoto, perhaps in Japan, has no large buildings, only torii, a seemingly infinite number to path through as you trek up the gentle slopes. Another distinction equally commendable is that it is a kyotoïte site much less traveled despite its remarkable splendor. But there are no gilded buildings, just a feeling of being there, here and now.


Take the time to stroll, shop around the entrance, hesitating between two lanes when the road splits and two rows of torii are available to you, whether or not to turn around; the atmosphere is enveloping.  Stone statuettes of Kitsune - mythical foxes- decorate the shrine here and there, punctuating your walk. They lend a heightened sense of spirituality to this place. The Inari, the deity of rice growth, business, and trade, reigns in this place via his earthly messenger, the cunning animal who stares at you with his prying eyes, the key to the rice granary clamped in his mouth.

Kyoto still retains treasures that visitors leave alone, to the delight of adventurers in search of authenticity. Obviously, there are other hikers there. As silhouettes perched on a stepladder to paint a portal to restore it to its brilliance. But legions of tourists, no! Just an armada of torii.

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