When I booked my ticket to Japan I already knew that I wanted to visit the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto. The highlight of the shrine is the rows of torii gates. More than four thousand red torii gates leads you to the top to one of the most beautiful shrines in Kyoto. Whether you want to take pictures or not this shrine is definitely a worth visit.
Take the JR Nara Line train from Kyoto Railway Station. It is two stops to JR Inari Station and takes about 5 minutes. From there it is a 2 minute walk.
Best time to visit the shrine
The shrine is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The shrine is very popular and can be very crowded. The best time to visit the shrine is early morning at sunrise or in the afternoon just before sunset. We visited the shrine twice, just before sunset and a second time at an early morning. The first part of the path is very busy with tourists as that’s where everyone takes pictures. If you will carry on, you will find a lot of areas with no tourists around.
Taking great pictures
It can take some time to get the picture without many tourists in the frame. The first gates you will enter are very large. After you cross that section you will see smaller gates with one path going up (on the right side) and one path going down (left side). These are the gates you will recognize from the pictures. What most people do is taking pictures in the path going up. This section is very crowded. I recommend to walk to the end of the path which will take you 5 to 10 minutes. At the end take the gates back where you came from. You will see that this section is less crowded, you will only see people on their way out. Here you can take the pictures. These torii gates stand so close together that even sunlight has a hard time getting through, so you might need to use a higher iso to get sharp pictures. There are a few corners, you can use these to get your pictures without any people in the frame. At the end of this section you can go back through the path you first went to the top of the mountain. You will see that the longer you will walk, that you will find a lot of areas without people.
Things to consider
– The 4 km walk to the top of mount Inari is an easy walk, and can be done in two to three hours.
– Bring food, drinks and snacks with you. There are plenty of vending machines to purchase drinks on your way up. There are also some small kiosks to get food and drinks.
– I didn’t bring my tripod with me, it would just get in the way because it was very crowded;
– The shrine is open 24 hours a day, the best time to visit is at sunrise and sunset.