History of Fushimi Inari-Taisa Shrine
To understand the meaning of this place, we must first understand a little about the Japanese Shinto Shrine in general. A Shinto shrine is a place of worship for Shinto, which is also the place where “kami” (Shinto gods) resides. Inside these temples are objects of worship for kami. Because of the different gods influencing different elements of life, people often go to a certain temple to pray for good fortune in certain fields such as having children, getting married, health, prosperity and getting good grades in school.
The Inari Kami, the god worshiped in the mountains, is the patron of businesses, merchants and manufacturers. Therefore, Inari Kami temples are always attracting tourists – where people often come to pray for the company’s successful efforts.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine known for its 10,000 vermillion torii gates winding on a two-hour walk. Immediately after the construction of the temple, to prove the contribution of the worshipers, a torii gate will be built with their names written on it. Soon, hundreds of thousands of people wanted the same fortune and went to this famous temple to buy their own torii gate, creating the “Senbon Torii” tunnel you see today.
In the 7th century AD, in 711 AD, the Hata family began to build the Fushimi Inari temple – a temple dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and sake. For centuries, as Japan gradually transformed itself from an agricultural nation to industry, the temple became important to bring good luck in business when thousands of Japanese businessmen and traders came here.
Today, one of the most revered Shinto shrines in Kyoto, the Fushimi Inari shrine is the oldest. Its importance only grows when agriculture becomes less important and business becomes the path to get prosperity. Inari, still the rice god, takes on the modern role of ensuring business success. It is currently one of the most visited temples. On the occasion of the New Year, more than 3 million people come here to pay homage.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine known for about 10,000 orange torii gates winding on a two-hour walking path, founded in 711 AD.
Entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine
The main temple welcome you at the beautiful entrance with bright red and gold decorations. But this is Kyoto, a city with hundreds of spectacular temples and shrines, and the main attraction is not the temple itself but the path that begins behind the temple.
The path passes through more than 1,000 Torii gates
Most tourists come to Fushimi Inari Shrine to follow the mountain path through the jungles of Mount Inari. At the back of the main temple precinct, the walking trail begins with two rows of dense parallel torii gates – Senbon Torii (“thousands of torii gates”) next to each other. You can come across either because both lead to the same place. More than 10,000 torii gates located along the path create a tunnel effect that you pass through. There are many gates at some points that completely obscure the forest around you. In some locations, the gates stand so tightly together that even sunlight can hardly penetrate. The first part of the road is always crowded with tourists because it is a place where people are excited to take photos with the bright gates. Do not be disappointed, Keep walking and you’ll find plenty of remote areas with no tourists around, especially if you decide to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine at night. The farther away you go, the older and dull the gate over time.
The oldest Torii gates are from the 8th century, and new gates are constantly being added. A Torii gate is said to be the division between the physical and spiritual worlds. All Torii gates along the path are donated and donated by individuals or companies to thank them for their blessings. The words on the back of the gate represent the sponsor’s name, next to their wishes for health, wealth or happiness. Not everyone can donate a gate, you must have 40,000 yen for a small gate or more than a million for a large gate!