June 8, 2009

Fushimi Inari Shrine - O Torii Everywhere!

On Saturday we (the Kasdan's and our friends from Tokyo, Bob and Maho) went to a terrific mountain-side shrine called Fushimi Inari. Although this is not one of the places you read about in guidebooks to Kyoto, it most definitely is one of the best shrines we have been to. It is located at the base of Mount Inari in the small town of the same name, just a couple of stops south of Kyoto Station (on the Nara Line). The best part are the great hiking trails through the mountains, with some nice look-outs.

We got the kids these bamboo walking sticks mid-way through the hike at a small shop for 200 yen. (We then walked not seven steps around the corner and there was another shop selling the walking sticks for 190 yen. Competition is fierce on Inari-san.) They actually used them as walking sticks and not weapons for most of the time. Which was good.

The shrine is unique for a couple of reasons.

The first is the foxes (kitsune). Thought to be the messengers of the Shinto God of Rice (whom the shrine is dedicated to), there are lots and lots of fox statues.

The second is the 0-torii gates. There are said to be over 10,000 of them here. (We didn't count, but it seems in the ballpark!) They line the hiking paths like a corridor, which is fun to walk through and very picturesque. So, here are our pictures from the day:

Next to the o-torii corridors, there are many little shrines adorned with foxes and 0-torii of all sizes. There are some small lakes along the way too. What is particularly amazing are the houses up on the mountain-side next to the hiking trail; it is a solid hike up there and there is no real "town" to speak of. Apparently, though, people live there. A slow peaceful life, to be sure. On the way down, we walked next to this bamboo forrest, which is always a nice treat.


Semsavblanc said...

Thank you. Another place to add to the guide book!

Joyce said...

Wow...and now I know where they got the idea for "The Gates" in Central Park....the relationship is incredible.