If you’re in Kyoto or even Nara then a visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrines should be in your “to do” list. I first discovered the shrines after watching one of my favourite movies Memoirs of a Geisha. You could only imagine how excited I was when I found out the red shrine tunnel Sayuri ran threw was a real place and not some movie prop. My first visit to the shrine was when I was 18 with my aunt during my stay in Australia and we found an amazing seat sale for April 1. Being completely absorbed in the magic of the shines I saw a stream going off the beaten track into the forest and in my wanderer mind I thought “Theres’ a waterfall.”
Not only was there no magical waterfall that I had dreamt up in the moment of magic but we were now lost somewhere between the shrine and more forest. Being confused stupid tourists we ran into an old man hiking along the trails who didn’t speak any english (that didn’t stop him from trying to have a conversation though) and he led us out of the endless forest. Into the next town.
After walking for a almost an hour with him, having no idea what each other were saying, we parted ways with cheerful goodbyes and began going in and out of any store we could find in hope someone would tell us where the train station was.
So, when I was 22 and back at the Fushimi Inari Shrines for round 2, I did not venture off looking for waterfalls and instead stuck to the trails and made our way to the top.
I highly recommend making it to the top of the shrine instead of turning around like most people seem to do since it is a little time consuming. It could take a few hours depending how slow and how many breaks you take but once you start getting closer to the top the crowds dwindle into nothing and you have lots of beautiful photo opportunities and can enjoy the scenery for a moment.
There are also plenty of water and pop machines and little restaurants you can eat at along the journey. Ice cream seemed to be a crowd favourite. I didn’t get any.. always go for the ice cream.
A tip: buy the water when yo first get to the shrines as prices jack up the closer you get to the top or better yet buy one at a seven eleven or fill up your own.
The easiest way to get there is by taking a 5 minute train from the JR Nara Line Inari Station from Kyoto station.
Whats your favourite shrine in Japan?
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