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Kyoto Fushimi-Inari Taisha (Shrine)

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Kyoto Fushimi-Inari Shrine is one of the most popular places in Japan, not only for worshipers

but also tourists. According to the travel magazine, it is number one spot for foreign tourists from around the world. Although I have lived in a neighboring town in Kyoto for over 2 decades, I’ve never even once been to this place. I wondered why it is so popular for foreigners, so I had decided to visit there in order to see with my own eyes.

fushimiinari-01When I arrived at Fushimi-Inari, I was very excited as it was full of foreign tourists, more than Japanese people. It is difficult to describe what Fushimi-Inari Shrine is. Fushimi is just the name of a district in south of Kyoto, Inari means Fox or Goddess of harvest, so Inari shrines are special type of shrines, where foxes are worshipped as the guardian deity of harvest. You can recognize it by a pair of fox statues at the entrance. Foxes are believed to be messengers of Inari (goddess of harvest). There are more than 30,000 Inari shrines in Japan and this Kyoto Fushimi-Inari is a leading sacred place, headquarter of all the Inari shrines.

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Fushimi-Inari is famous for its thousands of vermillion Torii gates. I walked through the Torii gates and the path led its way to top of Inari-mountain and made a loop trip to down to the starting point, passing through more than 2400 Torii gates, approximately 4km long, had taken about 2.5 hours. A number of small shrines and fox statues were visible here and there, so many candles were lit. Then I recognized that the whole Inari-mountain had been worshipped. Most of the Japanese imagine that foxes are – for good or bad – special creatures, some time they cheat people, meanwhile, they are sacred creatures between Kami (Shinto gods) and people.

fushimiinari-21It is quite difficult to describe how special I felt seeing it.  I would say it was such a mysterious atmosphere rather than just a holy place and I was able to somewhat understand why so many foreign tourists had been attracted there. Thousands of vermillion Torii gates are amazing, never seen this kind of structure abroad and furthermore, they also feel the difference in religion compared to Christian or Muslim, however they also find some common humanity at Fushimi-Inari regardless of their belief.

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Let’s pass though the Torii-gates. A path wends its way for approximately 4km up to top of Inari-mountain and made a loop trip to down to the starting point, passing through more than 2400 vermillion torii gates.

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Statues of fox, candle fires, small Torii-gates, so mysterious atmosphere. Can you imagine to visit here alone at night time.

fushimiinari-08Fox was watching me. I can not visit here alon at night,

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https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/%E4%BC%8F%E8%A6%8B%E7%A8%B2%E8%8D%B7%E5%A4%A7%E7%A4%BE/@34.9671402,135.770483,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x60010f153d2e6d21:0x7b1aca1c753ae2e9?hl=ja

 

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