[Post-Post] Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most famous and recognizable shrines in all of Japan. Well-known for its long tunnels of torii gates, a red and black wooden archway that symbolizes one's passage from the mundane to the profound. All of the gates at Inari Shrine have been donated by businesses (the cheapest price for a gate is around $2,500US!) and have been engraved with the business's information.

The shrine itself is dedicated to the god/goddess Inari, who is the god of five different dominions (fertility, rice, industry, agriculture and foxes). Inari has no predetermined sex, and can be portrayed as male, female or androgynous. Inari's messengers to the mortal world are white foxes, which are often depicted carrying either a key or a wish-fulfilling jewel. They are often decorated with votive red bibs out of respect by worshipers.

The shrine is also one of the oldest in Japan, dating back to the late 900s with Emperor Murakami. It is a beautiful shrine nestled at the foot of Inari Mountain in southern Kyoto, with many smaller shrines connected to it through the dozens of arch-filled walkways further up the mountain. It can easily take up to two hours to explore the whole area. It was really quiet when we went, and not overly crowded. We were able to sit and enjoy our lunch in a rest area near some stone toads, and found lots of fun souvenirs for all of our friends and family down the streets surrounding the shrine. It was really fun! I just can't believe it took us two years to finally find the will to go. We had Freshness Burger on the way home, which is a great burger chain to get my dose of avocado and other American-style foods, so all in all, a pretty awesome day!