Right in the heart of Kyoto, just a short train ride 1 or 2 stops away is perhaps one of the most well known religious locations in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Shrine. That’s the Shinto Shrine with the famous red gates, winding up and down the hill in Kyoto.
We visited on a day that had been raining in the morning, but cleared for us in the afternoon. The result was simply magical, dark forests and pavement and water running down channels around the shrine. The Fushimi Inari Shrine had long been a todo for Steph in particular since planning to visit Japan, and it did not disappoint.
The train station for Inari is directly opposite the shrines entry. A slight incline takes you up to the base of the shrine, with lots of outbuildings, prayer stations, fortune stations and incense burning happening all around. The initial steps continue throughout the shrine. If you have access difficulties this one will be hard to visit, but if you have little kids or can climb some steps, you can access the foot and go up to the first station and still get great value for money. Oh, and it’s a free place to visit too which of course adds to the value!
We were there in Summer, in rainy season, and arriving mid afternoon after morning rain resulted in a very pleasant experience. It wasn’t too hot, there weren’t too many people and we were all spell bound by the overall experience of visiting what is the Number 1 Shinto Shrine in Japan. That’s right, this is known as Shrine Number 1, so all of those gates you see around Japan apparently report to this one!
We had three boys with us so unfortunately we couldn’t go all the way up the Fushimi Inari Shrine. We would have loved to have done so, but we may well have broken them! Bring Japan, of course as you ascend you pass multiple vending machines to we did enjoy the opportunity to get a drink as we went.
Available at entry is a map, and we recommend you get one. There are a few different paths and ways to go up Inari mountain, and the map is really clear and helpful.
Make sure you check out the Fushimi Inari Shrine when you visit Japan, it’s truly an amazing, spiritual place. Check out our video for the full experience.