Japan Day 4: Fushimi Inari!

I have always had a fondness for Inari, the God of Foxes. This stems partially from the fact that I am a huge fan of Kurama and thus of foxes by default. I didn’t really connect Fushimi Inari Shrine with Inari till I heard the name though, as the images of the torii were associated with Memoirs of a Geisha, the movie, not so much the actual shrine.

Entrance to Fushimi Inari

So when we hit Fushimi Inari I was excited, if a bit sore (my legs had been aching for quite a while. I need to walk more). When we got here I thought I was on my second wind. The place was gorgeous, and it was huge and large, and so I thought there would be plenty to explore.

Not as long as it looks, and not as short either

Outside the shrine there was two stalls that sold dorayaki and takoyaki. We ended up having both, though my dorayaki was more flour than custard. The takoyaki was delicious awesome though.

Takoyaki

After takoyaki nomming, it was time to explore the place! Fushimi Inari is a Shinto shrine, so it’s very noisy and lively. While we were walking around, I saw a family with a wheelchair member touring the grounds. Later on they actually went to perform some rituals, so I think it was more of a religious outing than a simple visit like us. That said, here, have a photo:

Entrance up the mountain

As we walked, Wind pointed out that the foxes covered in “cages” that we had been seeing were made out of wood. We speculated that that could be the reason why the other foxes were not covered (they were mainly made of stone).

Foxes in a cage

We split up with Neon and Priest after that. Wind and I took our own sweet time walking and exploring the grounds. As we walked, we began to take pictures. Yes, this is your warning about incoming spam of torii photos at Fushimi Inari.

On the way in

Don’t let the photo below deceive you. There were a LOT of people there. It just so happened that we managed to get a clear picture of the torii pathway just before the crowd arrived.

Rare clear path to take photos

The Wind can read kanji (to an extent, since they’re very similar to Chinese), so she told me that the torii were inscribed with the name and date the torii was made, as well as who were the donors. I wondered though, about the stories behind these torii. Who put them up? What made them offer a gate to the God of rice? What were their stories?

Picture of torii on the right side at Fushimi Inari

Picture of torii on the left side

We reached a junction and didn’t realise that both pathways led to the same thing. Which led to this photo (pic was taken by the Wind and doesn’t belong to me):

Me standing in front of the pathway wondering where to go?

Torii so dense you can barely see the sunlight.

Toriis so dense they hide the light

Then we came out of the pathway!

Random guy walking out of the pathway behind us

Some of the torii we found while walking had these strung across them. Anyone can tell me what they mean?

Torii with wheat suspended across them

After walking some more, we came across this unexpected view.

Random lake is... calming.

The late afternoon sun meant that pics taken with no adjustments look like this.

Dark shadows in picture making it look like sundown

This sneak peek at the Kyoto beyond the mountain though, is closer to how we actually saw the view.

Brighter, no adjustment photo

The cloud in this photo now feels serene to me.

Late afternoon view of Kyoto from a quarter of the way up

We stopped at the Yotustuji intersection to take a breather. Climbing those stairs were no joke. For the first time since I was in Japan, I actually took off my coat and walked outside. That was how warm I felt. I will not lie. I love this view of the torii. It’s sort of a hidden yet obvious secret.

Torii peeking through the path

On the way down, we saw this cute little fella.

Orange white fat cat

He looked everywhere but at me argh. Damn tsundere cat!

But he did like to be petted

Sadly, we also found a “missing cat” poster after we left the cutie behind:

Cat!

As we descended (using a different route deliberately), we came across one of the smaller shrines. And found some sakura blooming.

Hello Sakura

Close up of blooming sakura

That same shrine also seemed to sell small tiny foxes as offerings. However, as we were there long after 4, it was too late for us to purchase them as offerings.

Cute tiny foxes figurines

We then headed back to Kyoto Station where we had ramen for dinner and decided not to check out Kyoto Tower in the end. For the price of admission we’d rather visit Tokyo Tower. The next day… HIMEJI, TROLL LEVEL: CITY.