The god Inari has a very important role in the Shinto religion, as well as in the faith of the Japanese. Inari is the god of rice, sake, tea, agriculture, fertility, foxes and all things related to business.
Today Inari is seen as one of the greatest protectors of the people of Japan. Inari is said to be kind and very beautiful. They describe him with long black hair, wearing a vermilion kimono, he is androgynous and so beautiful that if he presented himself to earthly people they could even faint from so much light. Therefore, the god Inari sends his messengers to earth to carry his news, these messengers are the white foxes, that is why in all the Inari shrines they have two foxes guarding one entrance.
Throughout Japan there are about 32,000 Shinto shrines dedicated to this important god. The main shrine and the head of the entire network, is located in the city of Kyoto. Known worldwide for its more than 10,000 Toriis in a row, the “Fushimi Inari Taisha” shrine attracts around 3 million visitors the first three days of the year, and is one of the main attractions in Kyoto. .
The shrine is located at the base of Mount Inari and includes many minor shrines that span 4 kilometers up the 233 meter mountain.
Each of the shrine gates (torii) has been donated by a Japanese individual or business in the hope of good luck and fortune. The donor’s name is written in black ink on the back of each door. The main structure of the shrine was built in 1499 and is designated as an important cultural asset of Japan. The sacred precinct contains five shrines: a lower shrine, a middle shrine, an upper shrine, and auxiliary shrines.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is also famous for appearing in the famous film “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is a wonderful experience in Japan and is recommended to any enthusiastic traveler. The large number of people who visit this sanctuary on a daily basis is astonishing. The shrine itself is impressive, with the opportunity to purify at the entrance (via Shinto purification) and then the opportunity to pray.
Beyond the sanctuary, a (challenging) walk up the mountain ends with a wonderful view of Kyoto and the main sanctuary. Inside the main shrine, omamoris (for good luck, health, prosperity, etc.) are sold.
The sanctuary is open twenty-four hours a day, therefore you can enjoy an exciting night walk to the top of the mountain.
Throughout Japan, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must see for visitors who want to feel the power and beauty of Shinto shrines.