Visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine - Kyoto

On Monday we visited the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine with its famous red tori gates. It is recommended to visit early in the morning, but we weren’t that organized so we arrived mid morning. We traveled by subway and the journey took 35 minutes and 180 yen one way (that's less than 2 USD). The weather is cool with occasional rain. The cascade of tori gates makes for a unique walk.


Many people were visiting but we got away from the crowds at one junction, heading uphill towards the shrine area vs following the tori gates down. Another strategy is to wait for the groups of people to pass (like traffic, the crowd ebbs and flows) in order to get your photo of the gates alone.

Kyoto Adventures

Kyoto Adventures

You can hike all the way to the top but with my back issue knew I couldn’t/ shouldn’t do so. In this area away from the crowds we encountered a bamboo grove with giant tall stalks reaching to the heavens. It was an amazing sight. Strong winds shifted and swayed the thick bamboo trunks emitting groans, creaks like an old person’s bones. With sparse crowds here we took in serenity and calm.

Kyoto Adventures

Most people follow the red gates up and down, then leave. The park has so much more to offer - a small Japanese garden, a shrine part of the way up, the bamboo grove and a hike all the way up to the top then a descent down the same way or another way. A friend also recommended this site at sunset although it will turn dark on the return down and is a little spooky.

Kyoto Adventures

There are little stores and various food vendors in the streets leading up to the Shrine. We enjoyed matcha lattes in a cafe, overlooking the beautiful gardens.

Some travel guides may classify this site a "tourist trap unworthy of your time", but I really enjoyed it even with the crowds. I suspect during high season (cherry blossom, summer time, fall) the throngs of crowds would detract from the experience and I feel the best strategy would be to visit either very early or around sunset.


Japan Travel tip - Google Maps is crucial to navigate the myriad of transport options available. By choosing public transport mode of travel, the app will display several options complete with total travel time, walking distance, subway station details (train departure platforms, train departure times, entry and exit routes). During our first days in the country, it was stressful getting our bearings and getting accustomed to learning the public transport system but by the end of our trip in Japan, we were very comfortable navigating public transport trains and buses, even in Tokyo.

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