The first time I laid my eyes on the beauty of Fushimi Inari Taisha was in one of my favorite visually stimulating movies, Memoirs of a Geisha (not a fan of how much the story-line changed from the book, but that’s a whole other story). When I planned to visit Kyoto, I knew I had to go. And like I had imagined, it was magical.
As soon as you get off the run-down but charming Fushimi Inari station, I really felt like I was in one of Hayao Miyazaki’s animations. Not to mention, the weather was incredible. It was sunny, but the area around the shrine had trees that gave just the perfect amount of shade and a pleasant breeze.
A view I really didn’t come across while travelling in Osaka and Kobe. People dressed in yukatas (summer kimono). All around the city, I saw people dressed in yukatas and it didn’t seem weird or jarring at all. This is why I love Kyoto.
The trail through the gates are perfectly maintained and are easy to walk up but between the shrines you can really see how old the gates are. You can see endless strands of spider webs with various flowers or leaves tangled in them.
Now, I’m not a believer in the Shinto religion so I obviously don’t know many of the meanings of the shrines and structures within Fushimi Inari. But. If you love Japanese architecture and culture, I highly recommend visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha. Walking through the gates, it felt so peaceful and invigorating, and the air was clear and clean. It was nice during the summer (albeit a few mosquitoes), but I can see how beautiful it might be during the cooler months in fall or spring. The area around the shrine is also charming, with various small shops, restaurants, and cafes to choose from. But please note that the shops and cafes close pretty quickly, so make sure to visit during the morning or early afternoon. You won’t be disappointed.