Fushimi Inari-taisha Kyoto Temple

The Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is located in Fushimi-ku in Kyoto, around one hour walk along the river or 20 mins by train from Shijō Street. Shijō Street is the main shopping street in Kyoto which leads to the Yasaka Shrine. There is no way to miss that one.

The shrine is on the base of the Inari mountain which is 233 metres above sea level. The Fushimi Inari-taisha site includes a trail up the Inari mountain which takes around two hours to walk and passes by lots of smaller shrines. The trail is very scenic and much more peaceful compared to the main shrine which generally is overcrowded by tourists.

The earliest parts of the Fushimi Inari-taisha site were built in 711 on a different hill in the south west of Kyoto and then relocated in 816. The main shrine structure was built much later, in 1499. The main gate and the main shrine of the Fushimi Inari-taisha site are located at the bottom of the hill. The inner shrine is located in the middle of the mountain which can be reached by a path through thousands of gates (toriis).

The Torii Path

Once you have passed by the huge shrines at the beginning of the Fushimi Inari-taisha you will eventually walk through the torii path. A torii is a traditional Japanese gate that is usually located at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine. The torii path at the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine is a collection of thousands of torii gates lined up behind each other. Have a look at this blog post to view more photos of the famous torii path.

The Fox Sculptures at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Walking through the Fushimi Inari-taisha site you will notice a huge fox sculpture near the stairs leading up to the torii path and various smaller fox figures throughout the trail up the mountain. Foxes are said to be messengers and are often found in Inari shrines.

Inari has been depicted as both male and female and is a popular deity with shrines throughout most of Japan. The most famous depictions of Inari are a young food goddess and an old man carrying rice. Amongst other various depictions, Inari is also often believed to be a fox though there is no one correct depiction of Inari. The preferred depiction and gender differs according to the regional beliefs and traditions.

The worship of the Inari deity is believed to have its origin in the founding of the shrine at the Inari mountain.

Walking Up the Inari Mountain

After passing through the main torii path (you will notice when you are in it!) there will be the option to walk a trail that leads up the Inari mountain. For me this walk was the best part of visiting the Inari shrine. It is such a peaceful walk with so much to discover. I took hundreds of photos. For more information and photos, have a look at this post about the Inari trail.

Around the Entrance of the Fushimi Inari-taisha site

You will find lots of little food stalls on the way from the train station to the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. They are perfect for getting a little snack before and after your visit. And make sure to buy some water before you start your two-hour walk up and down the Inari mountain!

Guide to Vising the Inari Fushimi Shrine in Kyoto | Temples in Japan

Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train

After visiting the main shrine at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari you will pass through the first of countless impressive and beautiful torii paths. Thereafter you will have the option to continue your walk through thousands of more toriis (Japanese shrine gates) up the Inari mountain. It takes around two hours to walk along the trail which will lead to the top of the Inari mountain from where you will have beautiful views of Kyoto. The trail itself goes through woods and along lots of smaller shrines and graveyards.

The Inari trail is very peaceful and makes a lovely afternoon walk. It is also generally not overcrowded like the main shrine of the Fushimi Inari site. If possible plan your trip to the Fushimi shrine so that you walk the Inari trail in the early evening. First you will be almost alone wandering through the tunnels of endless gates, and second, the woods look super magical and mysterious as the daylight fades.

Below is a selection of photos from the Inari trail that I took when I was there. Do see how beautiful the trail is? It’s definitely one of the must-see shrines and things to do in Kyoto! To read more about the Fushimi Inari shrine and how to get there, have a look at this blog post.

Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train Fushimi inari Shrine Kyoto Mountain Train

Have you ever wondered how Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle would have looked like if the story were set in Japan?  Most likely like the Himeji Castle!

The Himeji Castle is also known as White Heron Castle due to its beautiful white colour and is considered as one of Japan’s most beautiful and impressive castles.  It is also the larget and most visited castle in all of Japan. The Himeji castle’s history dates back to 1333 and, unlike many other castles in Japan, was never destroyed by war or natural disasters. It is the finest surviving example of historical Japanese castle architecture and a UNESCO world heritage site since 1993.

 

The Himeji Castle developed from a fort built on the top of the Himeyama hill in 1333 into the Himeyama Castle in 1346 which was then remodeled into the Himeji Castle two centuries later. A three-story castle keep was added to the Himeji Castle in 1581 and between 1601 and 1609 the castle was completely rebuilt into large castle complex. The Himeji Castle developed today’s ‘look’ in 1618 after a final addition of several buildings to the castle.

Entrance gate to the outside area of the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

‘Garden’ area in front of the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

The Beauty of the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Doesn’t this really look like the Japanese version of the Sleeping Beauty castle :)? Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Panoramic View from Inside the Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful CastleHimeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

The Museum inside the Castle

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

Miniature Version of the Shimabara Castle as shown in the museum

Himeji Castle | Japan's Largest & Most Beautiful Castle

How to get to the Himeji Castle?

The castle can easily be reached by train from Kyoto and Osaka and is located a 20 min walk from the Himeji train station.

We visited the Himeji Castle after having spent a few days in Kyoto exploring the city’s beautiful temples. So the Himeji Castle makes a perfect day trip once you have discovered all temples in Kyoto or simply are not in the mood for visiting another one :)