Monday, November 7, 2011

Fushimi Inari Shrine

This past weekend I took a day trip to Kyoto and saw the Fushumi-Inari shrine. The shrine is dedicated to the god of rice and is made up of thousands of bright orange torii lining a series of mountain trails. I arrived in the late afternoon to overcast skies and a light drizzle which caused mist to rise off the hillsides. It made for a pretty cool atmosphere. Fushumi-Inari is just outside Kyoto’s city center, but it feels very remote as you start going up the heavily forested mountain.

Torri Cave

One of the little shrines along the way

The sheer number of tori is pretty striking. In some places they’re spaced so close together that it feels like you’re walking through a cave. There are a couple of main paths, but they branch off to small shrines and teahouses along the paths. Since it was raining, there was hardly anyone around and most of the teahouses were closed. Sometimes I would walk for 30 minutes without seeing another person. After spending so much time exploring around the bustling streets of Osaka, it was very peaceful to wander through the woods without being bothered by anyone. As the trail got steeper, it started to resemble an endless staircase and my walk turned into a little work out.

My walk through the torii

The sun went down just as I got to the top of the mountain and started my return trip. It got dark pretty quick and started to get a little spooky. I walked down misty steps accompanied only by the calls of birds, the chirps of insects, and the bubbling of small streams. I was a little nervous about tripping on the steps, but I took my time and eventually made it back to civilization. All in all, it was about a 2.5 hour hike. Very cool.

The Trip Back

Shrine Entrance


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