Autumn in Kyoto – Part V Fushimi Inari the Shrine of Hollywood Fame


Fushimi Inari

  • 15 minutes by JR NARA line from Kyoto
  • Shrine of Hollywood fame
  • Series of red Torii or wooden gates are its main attraction

For Kyomizudera see Kyomizudera In Kyoto Part I

Kinkakuji see  Kinkakuji In Kyoto Part II

Ginkakuji see  Ginkakuji In Kyoto Part III

Tofukuji see  Tofukuji In Kyoto Part IV

From Tofukuji the next station is Fushimi Inari. We started from Kyoto station. Stopped at Tofukuji. Got back into the next available train in the same direction for the next stop at Fushimi. Could we have walked ? Cycled perhaps. But the journey in the small toy train like train itself was also fun.


As you cross the road, a wide paved path leads the way through huge red wooden gate. This red vermilion colored Torii is what distinguishes the Fushimi Inari from others around. FushimiInari is known for Torii. It is not just for this one but  for the hundreds that follow. The path leads to the pavilion of the main temple complex. Then moves uphill.

FushimiInari main temple
FushimiInari main temple
The Prayer Hall
The Prayer Hall

The Toriis stand shoulder to shoulder one after another all the way up.

Toriis that brings the shrine its Hollywood fame
Toriis that brings the shrine its Hollywood fame

Each Torii has a story. A prayer ascribed to it by the family that erected it in remembrance of someone loved. The ancient belief continues.

A light for the soul on the journey up
A light for the soul on the journey up

It was originally an obeisance to the foxes that protected the harvest from small pests. But faith outgrew its genesis transforming into a tradition serving a larger purpose. The legend of Fushimi Inari was born.

Link to official website Official website

The Shrine of Hollywood Fame

Unlike Tofukuji Fushimi Inari is a busier stop. Tofukuji retains quaint Japanese temple town characters. But Fushimi Inari is a tourist magnet, well known as the location  for Hollywood movie Memoirs of a Geisha. The station as a result enjoys better documentation in English.

Inari temples however abound in Japan, even in Tokyo. http://www.couchflyer.com/fox-god-inari-and-the-environment/

So does Toriies in many Shinto shrines. Its of course the most famous Inari temple made famous by its association with Hollywood. Not otherwise nearly as pretty as compared to the richly decored Kinkakuji or blessed with fall colours such as Tofukuji. So unless trying to tick a destination off your list there is a chance one may feel underwhelmed! Beauty after all lies in the eyes of the beholder…

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