One of Kyoto’s most sacred temples and among the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Shrine is dedicated to Inari, the God of rice. The shrine’s five magnificent temples lie at the foot of the Inari mountain, and thousands of red torii gates (the Senbon torii) mark the forested trails to the top.
While it’s easy to explore the shrine on a self-guided walking tour, a tour guide can help you learn more about the historic temples, the Senbon torii, and the shrine’s many fox statues. A full-day Kyoto tour typically includes a stop at Fushimi Inari, along with other highlights like the Kinkaku-Ji temple (Golden Temple), Kiyomizu Temple, Gekkeikan Sake Brewery, and the Gion Tanto geisha district. It’s also possible to visit Kyoto and its shrines on a day trip from Osaka or Nara, or as part of a multi-day Japan itinerary from Tokyo.
Things to Know Before You Go
If you plan on hiking to the mountaintop, wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
The shrine is free, but carry cash if you want to leave a donation, make a wish, or have your fortune told.
Some parts of the shrine are wheelchair accessible, but the climb to the mountaintop is via several flights of steps.
How to Get There
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is located in south-eastern Kyoto, around 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) south of Kyoto Station. The closest subway station, just a few minutes’ walk, is Fushimi Inari Station on the JR Nara Line.
When to Get There
Fushimi Inari is hugely popular and can get very crowded, especially on weekends and during holidays. To avoid the crowds, visit on a weekday in the late evening or an early morning.
Hiking to Mt. Inari-san
The dramatic red walkway of Senbon torii, which leads to the 764-foot (233-meter) peak of Mt. Inari-san, is one of Kyoto’s most impressive walks. Although the total distance is only 3 miles (5 kilometers), the path is mostly uphill and has lots of steps, so leave yourself plenty of time—around two or three hours is enough for the round trip. It’s a scenic route, dotted with shrines, prayer stacks, and other monuments, but the biggest reward is the view from the top, which looks out over southern Kyoto.