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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine 伏見稲荷大社

Striking gateways at the prominent Kyoto Shinto shrine

Dedicated to Inari, the deity of a good harvest and success in business, Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head of all of Japan's Inari shrines. The seemingly endless path of vibrant orange torii gates leading up Mt. Inari makes for an impressive setting and is one of the most famous images of Japan.

Don't Miss

  • Walking through shrine's thousand-strong tunnel of torii gates
  • Sampling what may be the original fortune cookie
  • Kitsune Udon noodles and other fox favorites

How to Get There

Located in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is easily accessed from Kyoto Station.

Take the JR Nara Line to Inari Station. The shrine is a five-minute walk from there. Alternatively, take the Keihan Line to Fushimi Inari Station. It's a 10-minute walk from there.

A grand shrine

The god that Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is dedicated to is one of many gods, or kami, worshipped in Shintoism. Over 35,000 shrines across Japan are dedicated to Inari. Most are humble roadside shrines; Fushimi Inari has the designation of taisha, or “grand shrine.” Because of its location, it was patronized by the court, and emperors often made donations here in ancient times.

A long history

It is said that the shrine was founded in 711 before Kyoto became Japan's capital. The path leading up the 233-meter Mt. Inari is dotted with many smaller shrines and marked by approximately 10,000 torii gates. This long tunnel of vibrant orange torii gates is an iconic sight in Kyoto.

Torii

Because of the connection with success in business, local businesses donate torii gates to the shrine. The path up the mountain is thus named senbon torii, or one thousand torii, although there are now 10 times that number. Some of the torii date back to the Edo Period (1603-1867).

A great day hike

The hike up the mountain takes between two- to three hours. About half-way up, there is a small restaurant that serves light lunches and a souvenir shop that sells beverages and ice cream. The view from here to the city below is impressive and arguably better than the view from the top.

The original fortune cookie

There are Japanese restaurants and shops on the street leading up to the shrine. Here you can find sweet shops selling tsujiura senbei, a type of fortune cookie believed to date back to the 19th century. Some think they are the origin of the Chinese-American fortune cookie.

A fox's lunch

Inari's fox messengers, known in Japanese as kitsune, are pure white. Statues of white foxes can be seen throughout the shrine complex. In Japanese mythology, foxes like to eat aburaage, or deep-fried tofu. The restaurants leading up to the shrine thus sell inari sushi (rice stuffed into pockets of aburaage) and kitsune udon (wheat noodles in broth topped with aburaage). Both make for delicious light meals.

Since it's practically imperative that you take the hike up the hill to see the whole tunnel of torii gates, set aside a few hours, at least, for a visit. It's recommended to plan the trip from late morning until mid-afternoon, with a light lunch on the hike.

A visit to Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine can be easily combined with a visit to many other Kyoto locations, such as a visit to the Nishiki Market in the morning followed by another temple in the afternoon.

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