There are a couple of temples to visit in the southern part of Kyoto. Unfortunately, I only had time to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. So I will only mention this one sight here.
Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
I think this shrine is one of the most iconic places in Japan. When you see postcards from Japan, you either see the tori gate from Miyajima or hundreds of tori gates from this shrine. I think this is the most impressive place in the whole of Kyoto. And it is a “do not to miss” spot.
It is the largest Shinto shrine in Japan dedicated to the goddess of rice, Inari. The messenger of the god Inari is the fox. So along the way, you will see a lot of statues of it.
The easiest way to visit the place is to hike along all the shrines and sub-shrines. There are thousands of vermillion torii gates along the 4km long trail up Mt. Inari. Also, at some point, during the hike, you will be able to see a panorama of Kyoto. Looked amazing! The whole walk takes around 2 hours, and it is quite charming.
Companies, institutions, or ordinary people can donate the torii gates. The price depends on the placement and size of the gate. At one place there was a price list displayed. Maaan!! The big one sure is expensive. There were also a lot of tiny gates so mortals like us, who are not wealthy would also be able to contribute 😀
When to visit
The shrine is packed during the day, so either visit early in the morning or in the evening. I’ve got there around 16.30 so most tourists were heading home. Most people also stay at the foot of the mountain and don’t venture further along the trail. So, when I started going up, at some point, I was all alone. Which, was great, as who does not want those cool pictures, with just you and torii gates 🙂
How to get there
Take JR Nara line train from Kyoto Station and get off at Inari Station. As soon as you exit the station, you will see the first main torii of the shrine. Just follow the crowds up the hill. There are free maps available, but you can do without as the route in the shrine was marked well.