Fushimi Inari Taisha is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion Torii forming a network of trails behind its main buildings. The paths lead into the forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which is 233 meters high and belongs to the shrine. Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. It is believed that foxes are Inari’s messengers, leading to many fox statues in the shrine grounds. The Fushimi-Inari Taisha has ancient origins and was created before the relocation of the capital to Kyoto in 794.
The Torii lining the trail are donations from individuals and companies. On the back of each gate is the name of the donor and the date written down. The cost starts for a small gate at around 400,000 yen and rises to over a million yen for a big gate.
The hike to the summit takes about 2-3 hours. Along the way, there are several smaller shrines with stacks of miniature Torii donated by visitors on smaller budgets. After about 30-45 minutes of ascent and a gradual decrease in the Torii, you reach the Yotsutsuji junction about halfway up the mountain, where you have a nice view of Kyoto and the path divides into a circular path to the summit.