Kyoto - Japan (Day 8 Part 1) Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)

September 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

If you asked me what my favorite shine is I would probably have to say Fushimi Inari Taisha. I love fox's and this shrine is full of them. Fox in Japanese is called Kitsune (狐). They are pretty common in Japanese folklore and often known to be wise and able to take human form but in this context related to the Shinto shrines they are seen as messengers to Inari a Shinto Kami or Spirit. They are also a kind of Guardian at shrine entrances as well.

Kitsune - The GuardianKitsune - The Guardian

Getting there was pretty easy it is a very short walk from the Keihan Fushimi-Inari Station which is also decorated with foxes. The streets were very empty in the early morning. Lucky for me the shrine is opne 24/7 so my early start was no problem. As I walked the few short blocks to the shrine I noted a couple places to visit upon my return.

Though I love foxes that is not the only reason I love Fushimi Inari Taisha. There are literally thousands of beautiful Torii (鳥居)! Torii are a traditional Japanese gate marking a symbolic transition into the sacred world. There are numerous styles made from a variety of materials. The torii at this shrine have mostly been donated by people who have enjoyed great success in business.

The shrine complex is huge and is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines within it!! After walking around for several hours and not seeing close to everything I can believe that figure.

As I was walking around I found that there are numerous cats that live in the shrine. They were very curious and playful. I know I saw at least a dozen different cats and suspect there are many more that live on the Mountain.

猫

I noticed people were mostly in clusters. I could walk 5-10 minutes and not see anyone then run into large groups of people all at once. I had such a blast exploring I almost did not want to go but I still had more places I wanted to visit and I was ready for breakfast. I ate at a small cafe near the station. It was really yummy and it had a very locals kind of atmosphere. The shop workers chatted with the people at the counters quite a bit and they had both Japanese and English menus. I felt very refreshed after my time in the wonderful small cafe.

Breakfast with a smileBreakfast with a smile

To see more photo's of Fushimi Inari Taisha please visit my collection here: http://kfrates.zenfolio.com/p778718524


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