I had done a decent amount of research on what I should see and where I should go in Kyoto the night before. One of the “must-see” items on my list was Fushimi Inari-taisha. They are these rows of red-orange shinto shrines (arches/gates). They are absolutely beautiful and magnificent. I saw at least a few thousand shrines in my walk around the area and I didn’t even climb up the mountain. In total, I believe there are at least 5,000 shrines in this one area of Kyoto.
These shrines were made to honor the god of rice and sake in the 8th century when agriculture played a much more pivotal role in the economy of the region. You will also see a few pictures of fox statues which represent the god of grain foods. In their mouths are the keys to granaries. (I just learned this now when writing this – who knew?)
I’ve actually seen countless pictures of these shrines and they have always seemed so huge. However, as you can see from a few pictures, two rows in particular were no more than eight feet tall. I couldn’t leave the area without buying a magnet of a mini shrine and eating some amazingly delicious street food.
If you ever end up in Kyoto, you have to go here. These shrines were so beautiful and eerie. If you can get there early, you might be able to avoid enough of the crowds to get pictures without any pesky people clouding up the photo. I didn’t have enough time to climb up the mountain but its definitely on my to-do list next time I visit – and yes, I am so coming back here.