‘If I don’t have much time in Kyoto, where do I want to go’ you ask. This place, the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It ticks the box for culture and awesome. It is one of those places where no photo can do it justice; mind you it does look pretty awesome in the photos however you can’t comprehend just how epic it is from a picture or two.
Tip: this involves a LOT of stairs so keep that in mind before making a decision whether or not to ascend- you have to really commit to this bad boy, but it truly is worth it. Make sure you are wearing flats. Yes, I did see someone trying to complete this in a pair of platform wedges – pardon?
Facts: The ‘Fushimi Inari Taisha’ (伏見稲荷大社) is famous for its thousands (apparently the exact number is unknown but apparently it could be around 10,000) of red Torii gates (鳥居) which date back to around 700 A.D. That literally makes them over a thousand years old.
The shrine itself, considered one of Japan’s most popular, is vast and complex spreading across a mountain. You will note upon your walk that there are many stone foxes, According to the Lonely Planet ‘ The fox is considered the messenger of Inari, the god of cereals, and the stone foxes, too, are often referred to as Inari. The key often seen in the fox’s mouth is for the rice granary.’ which makes sense when learning that the shrine is dedicated to the Gods of rice and Sake.
Make sure you give yourself half a day to visit the Fushimi Inari as you won’t want to rush the climb, and there are many cute streets at the bottom with markets selling local good and tourist-y items. Have fun!