2017 Mar 31
- Visited: Friday morning
- Price: Free
- Link: Tripadvisor
I ran for about half an hour from my hostel to the shrine. Inari train station was pretty close to the shrine, and Nara line runs there from Kyoto station and only takes 7 minutes. When I arrived around 7:30 AM food stalls were getting set up.
The buildings looked clean, very orange, and new for something founded in 711. I think they paint regularly. The main complex was built in 1499 and looked fairly large. The shrine was dedicated to the gods of rice and sake, and apparently it is the head shrine of 40,000 Inari shrines in the country.
There were many fox statues, the messenger of Inari.
The highlight of the shrine was actually not the buildings but Torii, the shrine gates. They were built along the trails around the shrine, and they looked absolutely stunning.
Running through them was breath-taking and excruciating, because much of the trail was quite hilly. So come with comfortable shoes!
And apparently they are based on how much you donate to the shrine.
There were stone sculptures and stores here and there along the shrine.
There was also a viewpoint near the top.
I did the full trail loop from the shrine to the top of the mountain, a bit of running but mostly walking. It took me about an hour but since I was hill-training so I would budget more time for leisure walks.
By the time I got back down to the shrine the food stalls were already open. It looked amazing but I was going to run back to the hostel, so I had to skip. But I took pictures.
I loved how picturesque everything looked. I went early morning but apparently the shrine gives off a completely different vibe around dusk, and I would love to go again. The trail was pretty hilly overall, but luckily the most picturesque part of the trail is near the entrance, so there is an option to just turn around in the middle. The shrine gates become a little sparse near the top.