Day 3 in Kyoto we will be visiting attractions closer to town starting with Fushimi Inari shrine. Taking the JR Nara Line from Kyoto train station, we got off at JR Inari station. It was a short 15 minutes train ride. As soon as you exit the JR Inari Station, you will see the first reddish coloured main gate of the shrine right across the station.
If you have taken a train using the Keihan Line, you’ll be getting off at Keihan Fushimi-Inari station. This is a different station from the above and you’ll have to do a fair bit of walking to get to the entrance of the shrine, 500 meters or so.
Fushimi Inari is a shrine famous for it’s thousand of gates called torii. The reddish color represents the colour of the sun. These gates were paid for or donated by local businesses and individuals. On the left of the torii, are the name of the company or person who donated it. On the right, you will see the date it was donated.
The shrine is open 24 hours with no entry fees. The best times to come is in the early mornings and late evenings to avoid the crowds. The walk along the torii involves stair climbing, but nothing strenuous.
On the day of our visit it started to drizzle when we reached the shrine office. Past the shrine office, you will see a flight of stairs that will take you to the torii leading to the inner shrine. Just when we were about to start our walk at the torri pathway, the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour, true to the weather forecast for the day. Luckily there was a shelter nearby and we waded for the rain to pass by.
The path of these torii will lead to the inner shrine taking you through an impressive arcade of giant torii. Further in, the toriis are much smaller and shorter in height, The walk isn’t long and soon we reached the inner shrine and the drizzle started again.
From the inner shrine, the walk to the upper shrine gets you through yet more torii. Go this way to reach the upper shrine. We did not continue further as the drizzle was getting heavier and we decided to turn back. Half way down, you will have to take a detour out of the torii for an exit route to the entrance. On the way out, we took shelter at a tea house waiting for the rain to stop.
Once the rain was over, crowd of visitors started to arrive. We couldn’t imagine how big it will grow especially the rain halted visitors for a good hour or so. And we couldn’t imagine how the ‘traffic jam’ be like in the torii with visitors stopping to pose for photos and selfies.
The rain was actually a blessing for us as we got a ‘clear’ path with few visitors when we went through the torii right after the rain subsided. My wish of getting a few photos of the torii empty realised.