What started my fascination with Japan was after I read the book Memoirs of a Geisha. I have always been a bibliophile and I always make sure that I read the book first before watching the movie version. However, the movie Memoirs of a Geisha painted a more colourful picture of Japan in my mind which made me daydream even more about someday visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.
There was a particular scene in that movie that just stuck with me and it was when Chiyo was running along these seemingly never-ending orange gates. At that time, I did not know what they were called or where exactly in Japan they can be found but that image just stuck in my head.
As a 26th birthday gift for myself, I booked a trip to the Philippines with a five-day layover in Japan. With my short stay in Japan, I made sure that I get to be in that exact place where Chiyo was running. I also made sure that I get a chance to walk around Japan wearing a kimono or a yukata to even make my trip as memorable as possible (but that’s a story for another day!).
Anyways, those orange gates shown in the movie (also called torii gates) are located at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
Fun fact #1: “One or more torii gates mark the approach and entrance to a shrine. They come in various colors and are made of various materials. Most torii, however are made of wood, and many are painted orange and black.”
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is as beautiful and peaceful and calming as I imagined it to be. With the amount of tourists in that place, one would think that it would be a bit chaotic but that is not true at all. Just being there is such a magical experience in itself and has easily made Fushimi Inari my favourite part of my Kyoto trip. In fact, it is my favourite and most memorable part of my whole Japan trip. It was only the second day of my Japan trip when I went to Fushimi Inari but I felt like I could go home because I’ve been to and seen what I came to Japan for.
Fun fact #2: “Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.”
One can easily spend about two to three hours in this place. I did not get the chance to go to the top of Mount Inari due to a lack of time, which is sad but I guess it just gives me a reason to go back.
There is no entrance fee to the Fushimi Inari Shrine and one would find that most places in Japan do not have entrance fees and if they do, they cost between 400 to 600 yen. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is also always open.
I, for one, had a chicken skewer for 500 yen and my boyfriend had a matcha milkshake?
Also check out a fellow blogger’s post about how to have the best experience at Fushimi Inari Shrine.