A Marvel in the Sake Land
By Denis Plamondon Photos by Denis Plamondon/Sandra D'Sylva
Going to Fushimi Inari Shrine is certainly one of the best destinations in Kyoto. If you are looking for an inspiring environment, trigger your soul with a set of surprising locations and give your body a journey to breath in fresh air with a good pulse, you should pay a visit to this exceptional site.
Once you past the typical souvenirs and local’s shops – try the sweets or the famous sake – you will start to go uphill.
The orange gates with a black base are numerous. They form two long tunnels in which you enter with a certain amount of admiration until you wonder why they so many are.
Each door is a donation from a benefactor and bears its name, the emperor’s period and replaces the old one. Before you begin your excursion, use the long rod of the wooden spoon to reach the water and pour it on your hands in a gesture of respect, of yourself.
As you may already know, the site is a Shinto Shrine dedicated to the god of rice, sake and prosperity – if you like sake, the Fushimi Area offers great opportunities to visit a sake factory. Why don’t you join the two events while you are around?
On your way up, you will encounter many little shrines and two foxes at the entrance of each one. These are not gods but Inari’s messengers and servants.
As you ascend the mountain and the countless stairs, you will reach a nice little pound. This is a good place to pause and to contemplate. Feel the silence, enjoy the enlightenment of your thoughts while following these nice and patient birds flying over the lake.
The shrine there has a nice altar and the monks will help you with your any donation.
Along the way, one finds Japanese style restaurants and automatic machine for refreshments. The magic will not be gone because of it, though. You will get used to it in Japan. On a hot day, you will appreciate a cold drink.
If you are not fit when you arrive in Japan, you will when you leave. Unless you stay put in front of your TV at your hotel. You will spend many hours there as the loop is long, although you can choose to a certain extent how far you are ready to go for the health of your spirit and body.
Access from Kyoto Station: JR Nara Line, Inari Station
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