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Fushimi Inari Taishai – The Shinto Shrine for Foxes and Business

I’m finally doing another post from the Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Autumn 2009! This is from a Shinto shrine near Kyoto called Fushimi Inari Taisha. It’s famous for its many orange gates and is the number one shrine in Japan for the Inari “kami” (god) which rules rice, fertility, foxes, and business.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Possible business meeting in front of main gate.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Possible business meeting in front of the main gate.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - This Shinto shrine is the number one in Japan for the fox god: Inari.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - This Shinto shrine is the number one in Japan for the fox god: Inari.

We started heading up the mountain passing through many, many gates…..

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Two roads diverged.... Each gate is donated by a company to support the shrine and hopefully their own business.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Two roads diverged.... Each gate is donated by a company to support the shrine and hopefully their own business.

Tomoko explained that each gate is donated by a business or group of businesses. This is supposed to help bring their business good luck.

And each wooden gate naturally deteriorates over time so the business has to keep paying for the upkeep of their gate. If a business is unable to pay the gate breaks down and eventually just cut removed.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Rachel taking a shot of the tunnel when no one else is walking down.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Rachel taking a shot of the tunnel when no one else is walking down.

It was a surprisingly long walk up the mountain….

Fushim Inari Taisha - When we finally reached the top of the mountain where the shrine is we found a Shinto ceremony just ending.

Fushim Inari Taisha - When we finally reached the top of the mountain where the shrine is we found a Shinto ceremony just ending.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - For some reason they were cooking tangerines this strange fireplace.

For some reason they were cooking tangerines this strange fireplace.

For some reason they were cooking tangerines in this strange fireplace on the stairs. They said it was okay to take photos but would answer Tomoko when she asked why they were doing it.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Candles burning at the top of the mountain next to the ceremony (we were told it was okay to take photos)

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Candles burning at the top of the mountain next to the ceremony (we were told it was okay to take photos)

So here’s where things started getting more interesting….

We’re just starting to head downhill when we notice a sign that says “This way to the waterfall.”

We decide to take this alternate path. Some might point out it was one particular person in the group who really wanted to do this (it wasn’t me but I won’t say who). But the point is we all thought it would lead right back to the main path.

Especially when we saw what a steep and strange path it was through the forest. They couldn’t expect us to go all the way back to the main path from here.

Fushim Inari Taisha - The steep path we choose which we thought led to a waterfall.

The steep path we choose which we thought led to a waterfall.

Turns out it didn’t lead back to the main path and didn’t lead to any waterfall we could find either! At least we hoped the slow drip they had that emptied into a plastic bucket wasn’t what they were referring to when they said “waterfall”.

Anyway, after some semi helpful directions from one person we basically kept walking down hill on a paved road.

We came to a bamboo grove and there was so much bamboo and so much was cut down we realized it must be a bamboo farm.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - Bamboo grove we thought might be part of a bamboo farm.

Bamboo grove we thought might be part of a bamboo farm.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - We passed by a vegetable farm on our adventure.

Fushimi Inari Taisha - We passed by a vegetable farm on our adventure.

So we finally realized we had gone down a completely different path but it looped around back to the train station we had come from.

One of those unexpected travel adventures!

Then when we got back to Kyoto we finally had sushi!

Toro - More expensive high quality fatty tuna nigiri sushi. Delicious!

Toro - More expensive high quality fatty tuna nigiri sushi. Delicious!

Yuni in front of the sushi conveyor belt.

Yuni in front of the sushi conveyor belt.

David and Conor trying sushi - even if they didn't end up really liking it.

David and Conor trying sushi - even if they didn't end up really liking it.

Now I was really happy to finally have sushi. But I was surprised how many people hadn’t had it in the US but more importantly: many of them didn’t really like it!

Becki, Conor, and David didn’t like it much. Though David had the excuse that soy sauce makes him nauseous so he couldn’t add that to his. Hannah had to admit she liked it but still didn’t like the idea of raw fish. Rachel was actually the only person who seemed to really like it.

And Sarah is fatally allergic to seafood so she couldn’t even partake. Yes, that’s right we managed to spend three weeks in Japan without Sarah accidentally eating anything with seafood. It was a challenge! But Sarah was good natured about it and people in restaurants were helpful and understanding.

Anyway, the way it works at the sushi bar is you choose a plate of whatever looks good as it comes by you. Only you have to pay attention to the color of the plate because that indicates how much the item costs.

Then at the end of the meal they count up your plates and that’s your total. Mine was about ¥2000 or 20 bucks. Not bad, considering. I could use some sushi right about now!

That’s about it from that day. Thanks for reading and I’ll try to keep posting in the coming weeks!

One Response to “Fushimi Inari Taishai – The Shinto Shrine for Foxes and Business”

  1. Nikowa Lee says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s great to be able to see things that I’ll never get to experience in real life.

    Looks like so much fun!

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