Fushimi Inari Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto Rice God. There are thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari throughout Japan, but Fushimi Inari, about a 5 minute train ride from Kyoto Station, is the most famous. The main reason why it is so famous is the thousands of tori gates that line the path up to the main shrine. It takes about two hours to walk the entire path and of course longer if you are stopping to take photographs. The torii gates are actually built for those that make a donation.
Where to start…Well, let’s just say if you are a photographer in Japan and you do not go to Kyoto, you should really consider giving up photography. Seriously, Kyoto and the surrounding areas like Arashiyama and Nara are so spectacular that there is no excuse not to find a way to get to Kyoto. As of Spring of 2006 I have been to Kyoto 5 times, going atleast once ever season of the year. The two best times to go are, cherry blossom season and during the fall.
Kyoto is the old capital of Japan is said to have more than 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines. Also Kyoto’s district Gion, is the only place in Japan where you can regularly see real geisha or maiko (and no they are not prostitutes).
There are many famous places and most of which I will encourage you to go to, but sometimes it is a good idea to go off the beaten path and find your own little treasure in Kyoto.
Here are some of the famous places you should consider going:
- Nanzenji (My personal favorite)
- Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion)
- Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion)
- Ryoan-ji (Most famous rock garden of all of Japan)
- Kiyomizudera (One of the most famous temples in Japan and a good view of Kyoto)
- Tetsugaku no michi (Philosopher’s Path)
- Kokedera (Moss Garden Temple–3000 yen and reservation required to enter!)
- Ninnanji (A very diverse UNESCO World Heritage Site close to Ryoanji)
- Fushimi Shrine (Shinto Shrine with thousands of tori gates)
Here are some Links you may find useful about Kyoto:
- Kyoto’s Visitor’s Guide–Online version of the monthly publication.
- Kyoto Event Web Magazine–Provides information about festivals and events.
- K’s Hostel–The best hostel in Kyoto.
- Japan-Guide.com–A lot of really good information
- Kyoto Prefecture Travel Guide–Official site of Kyoto Prefecture with travel information