One of the most important shrines in Kyoto along with Heian Shrine, Kamigamo Shrine, Shimagamo Shrine and Yasaka Jinja, is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Famous for its stunning thousand vermilion torii or shrine gates which forms a pathway up to top of Inari Mountain where you can a decent view of the city of Kyoto. The shrine honors the deity of rice, sake and prosperity called Inari which draw business people for the success of their enterprise.
Kitsune or Fox is the messenger of the God Inari and it's statues can be found throughout the shrine. According to Japanese traditions, foxes are sacred for they have the ability of possessing humans. In the mouth of the fox is the key for the rice granary.
A scene in the movie Memoirs of A Geisha, based on the novel by Arthur Golden, was set in Fushimi Inari Shrine where young Chiyo, played by the Chinese Superstar Zhang Ziyi, is running through the torii gates.
Hiking the whole trail up to the top is about 2 hours and it is a fun exercise at the same time. I recommended to wear comfortable shoes because the place requires a lot of walking and climbing countless of stairs. Bring also a water with you, the more you walk, the more the higher the prices of water and other beverages in the vending machine get.
What I don't like about the place is that they don't have enough signs for the route around the mountain so I was a bit lost and keep returning back at the same place. If you are not interested with shrines, you might get bored in climbing up. And mostly I hate those stray cats! Sorry for all the cat lovers, I really find them creepy especially when they love in the eyes.
It was very tiring but worthy after all. A very peaceful place and it feels like you were in a deep forest with a very calm sound of nature. You might have a chance to see wild monkeys around the shrines so be careful.
And lastly, before I forgot to mention it, this trip is free admission.
Actually, all the shrines in Kyoto (I don't know with the shrines in Japan) are free of charges and they also sell talisman and charms for good health, safe driving, happiness, etc.
blogging while wishing for happiness,