Saturday, 28 December 2013


I've wanted to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) ever since being blown away by the beauty of that one scene from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie where Chiyo's running through the red gates (aesthetically beautiful movie, if a little questionable with its casting etc. ...but I digress).

As with a lot of other temples and shrines in Kyoto, the quiet escape of forests and the scattered sunlight filtering between the trees made it a wonderful escape from dense, bustling city life.

The shrine was much quieter than, say, Kiyomizu or Kinkakuji but there were still a decent number of visitors.

Fushimi Inari is perhaps the easiest shrine to find - exit Fushimi Inari train station and you'll see the telltale red temple gates looming overhead to welcome you, with statues of foxes everywhere to let you know you're in the right place.

A side street takes you to a walkway of street vendors selling everything from yakisoba to ceramic foxes. Our student budget stopped us from buying the roasted quail but it definitely smelt delicious.

The entire path up the mountain is outlined with red gate upon red gate, some intervals marked by larger shrines, which is reassuring if you're worried about getting lost. The seemingly endless corridors give the entire place a subtle mysticism, even as you're walking through the vividly red paths with other people; the idea that the place is guarded by fox spirits is just incredibly fitting.

For my traveling party, arriving around noon, we were content to go up to the large 'pond', full of a collection of family shrines, before making our way back. It looked like people who were serious about going to the very top were taking along hiking gear.

Spotted some lovely things along the way and on the way down.


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