Monday, February 04, 2013

10,000 Torii Gates in Kyoto ~ "The Ultimate Torii Experience"

January 1, 2013 ~ A much awaited visit to Kyoto to count  the 1300 torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha with Taka & Atreyu... "The Ultimate Torii Experience"


Visiting Kyoto on a New Year's Day was such a memorable cultural and spiritual experience... It was actually one of the places I was looking forward to see in our New Year Kansai Winter Trip... As I've mentioned in my previous post... I've dreamed about this place how serene it could be and despite the swarming number of people visiting the Shinto Shrines and Temples... It was really a great experience... one of the best sights I've seen in Japan.

Toreishi's THINGS TO DO in Kansai Winter Trip!
The first on my THINGS-TO-DO List is to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto for New Year! It's one of the most visited places in Japan for the New Year! You may remember this sight in the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha". Yeah... I'm one those movie junkie who watched Memoirs of a Geisha over and over again on DVD... hehe. That intro scene of the young Sayuri running through the Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of the most unforgettable visual that reminded me of the beautiful Japan.

Memoirs of a Geisha: Young Sayuri running through the Fushimi Inari Taisha

Aside from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie reference... Historically, the iconic 10,000 (?) vermilion Torii Gates, each donated by various Japanese businesses, is one extraordinarily unique feature of  Fushimi Inari Taisha. The Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of biggest Shinto Shrine dedicated to the god ~ "Kami" of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes, industry: Inari Ōkami. In the contemporary time Inari governs the success and prosperity in business.
Beautiful sight of Fushimi Inari Taisha (Photo grabbed from: http://inari.jp/)
Wish I could have gotten a postcard from here but there wasn't any postcard available around! >_<
Beautiful  Morning and Vermilion Torii of Fushimi Inari Taisha!

Actually, there is very little known accurate information about the Fushimi Inari Taisha, some said the vermilion torii gates were around 1,000 +, some indicated 3,000 even upto 15,000. It is really hard to confirm since even the official Fushimi Inari Website didn't indicate... but since I've caught an NHK World Documentary about the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha and I've found more sites saying there are 10,000 Torii Gates at the Shrine, it would be safer to say there are 10,000 + Torii gates as it is constantly grows in number from the continuous Japanese businesses devotees donate their own torii for Inari Okami. Nonetheless, what matters is each Torii is uniquely donated by various Japanese business establishments as thanksgiving and well wishes for a fruitful business... I wish I can do that too! haha! I wonder how much that costs! Haha! Must be a fortune!

Each Vermilion Torii is named from each Japanese Businesses who donated a Torii for prosperity and thanksgiving




This was personally the right place for me to visit for the New Year as I graciously want to ask for blessing and guidance especially with my career and my Tiara, to meet good people in line of work and more strength. This place is also ideal for nature loving people as this long trail Torii's goes on a forest up to the sacred Mount Inari... For me personally it was both a great spiritual and cultural experience for me... (not so much the physical, 'coz it was hard for me walking up a hill with heavy winter clothing hehe... still GREAT!)
LONG TRAIL OF WALK!! We only reached up midway! But still AWESOME!!

I've actually prepared myself (with a well planned #OOTD even!) I wanted to use my kamikazari to "match" with the pretty vermillion Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha... This is actually a "rare" occasion that I'm anticipating some nature trip... (I'm a city person, I enjoy NEON lights!) So I wanted to in "hanami" themed. My favorite Ado-chan UT and Renan's Leg Love design...
My HANAMI Themed #OOTD Plan for out Kyoto visit! 

But didn't realize... It'd be FREEZING COLD! Haha! I tried to put in my pretty kamikazari but I think my ears are gonna chip-off coldness that I had to keep my thick bonnet on my head... I wore my fave ADO-Chan... but it didn't matter coz I was bundled up in several layers anyways! Haha! But it's okay! I still got myself strutting along those vermilion torii gates with such pretty floral tights! I'm still Hanami Themed!
January 1, 2013 ~ Waiting for the train going to Fushimi Inari Shrine... Long trainride from Kobe to Kyoto!

Early morning of the first day of January... Taka, Atreyu and I were all up and about on our way to Kyoto... Kyoto is an hour train ride far from Kobe so we wanted to get on early to seize the day! First New Year in Japan new adventure ahead!
January 1, 2013 ~ Our daily mirror photo at out hotel room at Kobe Luminous Hotel! We're off to KYOTO! Ohayou Gozaimasu!

Since Kyoto is the most visited place during New Year... It was inevitable that train-ride would be jam-packed. I didn't mind though, I enjoy train rides anyways. Atreyu was so excited to try on getting his own train ticket at the ticket machine!
Taka teaching Atreyu how to get a JR Train ticket! Atreyu's so excited about it!
Riding the Jr Train from Kobe, Hyogo Station!
Long Train Ride snaps with Taka & Atreyu

I enjoy changing trains using rapid ones, it's like an adventure for me... Although I didn't do any navigating since kareshi is the Kansai Expert haha! We changed trains at Ashiya (Hyogo Prefecture) since we wanna ride the rapid express going to Kyoto. 
Changing RAPID TRAIN to Kyoto Station!
Using Serial Rapid Train would take only 45minutes going to Kyoto Station!

Upon arriving Kyoto Station, we transferred trains to the Nara Line... from the Nara Line it's just a 5 minute train ride. I definitely knew we are nearby the Fushimi Inari Taisha simply because the swarm of people getting off and getting on the train! SWARM!
Tadaima, INARI STATION! So many people visiting the Fushimi Inari Shrine for New Year!

It was really crowed but I didn't mind. Just seeing the entrance from a far was already a nice feeling. There were so many people! The entrance was also filled with nice traditional market merchandise... (which deserves a whole new set of blog post!)
Entering the Fushimi Inari Taisha
Passing by the traditional Japanese Market at the Fushimi Inari Entrance

I thought the 10,000 Vermillion Torii would be easily found by the entrance of the shrine but we passed by many mini-shrines and lots of sights before reaching the Vermilion Torii Gates trails. There were so many sights to see but too many people that I can't stop and take photos of each beautiful sight I saw at the shrine... It was a challenge to take some scenic photos! Haha!

Serene Zen Garden

Shinto Prayers for the New Year...
Since it was New Year, there were tons of Prayers hanged and knotted by the shrine. It has been my Japan Trip tradition to always pass by a shrine and say a little prayer at the Shinto Shrine... Those fortune papers are the OMIKUJI

Going up to the Vermilion Torii Gates pathway...
Every structure are marvels of beauty

I saw this pretty shrine decoration... I just love the traditional Japanese decorations their colors are popping! I love it because it's so colorful! 
Saw this pretty decoration going up the Fushimi Inari Shrine.... It's simply so pretty and so colorful!

View from the upper shrine... There were A LOT OF PEOPLE! 
SO CROWDED!!

We passed by a mini shrine at the top of the shrine and it was a nice experience to teach Atreyu how to say a prayer Shinto Style...
Mini-Shinto Shrine at the top
Atreyu & I saying our prayers Shinto-Style ~ Suzu is the bell rung by worshippers

... And finally found it! The Entrace to the 10,000 Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari! Of course despite the crowded pathway, everyone is taking a photo in it! It's sooooo crowded!!
We finally arrived! We found the Vermilion Torii Gates Path!!

The Fox was believed to be Inari Okami's loyal messengers... so there were several fox statues guarding the Shrine. They look like a slimmer relative of Hachiko in Shibuya!

Fox Statue at the Fushimi Inari Taisha
Almost every aisle of Vermilion Torii Gates has a guarding Fox Statue
Each Vermillion Torii gate was fascinating to see... they are all engraved with unique names of each Japanese business devotees who donated each torii for Inari Okami... to bring prosperity and give thanks to Inari Okami. I wish I could read Kanji Characters better to read each of the engraved names... It seemed endless path... so surreal!
It was like going in an orange cave! Haha!

Everything is so dreamy walking through the Vermilion Torii Gates 
Everything looks so beautiful
Each Vermilion Torii Gates has engraved names of Japanese businesses... Each is unique
Some Torii Gates have metallic plates for the names of donors...
It was so dreamy walking through the aisle of Vermilion Torii Gates!

In the middle of the Torii Gate paths... we found a fountain where we could wash our hands for spiritual cleansing... Even if it was freezing cold I still tried it. Hehe. It felt like a grabbed a dry ice on my hands... But after washing our hands it kinda felt good. It was indeed a cleansed feeling.
Cleansing by washing our hands by the fountain ~ Purification trough

Some Torii are more unique than the rest... May be some needs retouch and restoration... Some are made out of concrete different from the wooden vermilion torii gates...

Fork pathway along the Senbon Torii has some unique concrete Torii
This Torii needs retouch! Haha!

Upon reaching the middle point... and about an hour trail walk along the Torii Gates... I started to feel hesitant thinking... "What if I need to use the bathroom?" I really wondered because the pathways seemed continuous and I didn't have any idea if we were nearby... 
Midway the Fujimi Inarii Torii gate trail was a Public toilet for bathroom break!

Good thing that at midway, there was a Public bathroom for everyone who needs a bathroom break.  But may be one thing I don't like with old Japanese public toilets are those on-the-floor toilets!! Ugghh! I hate sitting so near a dirty public toilet floor! @_@
LOL I don't like using this kind of toilet in Japan! @_@

At this point I wanted to retreat because I cannot handle using floor toilets with box-office lines again... Wearing seven layers of tights is definitely troublesome fixing-up on bathroom breaks! Haha! And... I wanted to check the market outside the shrine! Nonetheless, the midpoint was our chance to take more photos for us for remembrance!
Our last photos at the Torii Gates... Did we pass-by at least  5,000?
The midway along the long trail path... Fushimi Inari Taisha
That's kareshi, always giving me that look when I'm taking a little bit excessive photos haha!

Times like this... It's hard to take a decent picture of us three all together! Haha! We ended up looking silly! Haha!
Our silly photo by the Torii's
Our fun instax pix behind the Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine!

I was so relieved when some kind person volunteered to take a photo of us three... At least we had some decent photo to remember this beautiful place by!

Happy New Year from Taka, Atreyu and Tracy from Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto!

This is one of my favorite part of our Nihon New Year Kansai Winter Trip... It's a dream come true to see these beautiful historical and cultural sight... It truly was a unique and the real "Ultimate Torii Experience" indeed! We may have not reached the top of the Inari Mountain but I think I got a lot and enough experience even if we just reached mid-way! Actually, I found it a bit hard to summarize everything in just one blog that I can't wait to compose a Part 2 and Part 3 of our Fushimi Inari Taisha visit

Kyoto is just a train ride away from Osaka (Osaka Station) using the JR Kyoto Line and it's not so hard to find. From Kyoto Station, the Inari Station is just a nearby 5-minute train ride. If you have Google Map App... it's definitely helpful navigating with train-rides especially around Japan. 

More Kyoto Adventures coming up! 

... つづく
FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA (伏見稲荷大社)
Shinto Shrine
ADDRESS: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 612-0882, Japan
TEL.NO.: +81756417331
WEBSITE: http://inari.jp/

8 comments:

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  2. im proud of taking you to that shrine. that trii road was interesting to me as well. maybe next time, we should stop by KINKAKU.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wooow!!! This just looks beautiful! How amazing it must have been to get a chance to go there! If we book the trip we're thinking of, we will get to go to Kyoto ^.^ I'm not sure if we'll get to see this or not. It says in our brief itinerary that "we will visit zen gardens, pavillions and explore Gion in the evening" (gosh I hope we get to see some real Geisha's!! I also watched 'Memoirs of a Geisha' over and over hehe).

    Your 'traditional toilet' reaction is priceless! haha. Gosh if I run into one of those, I probably won't even know how to use it... @_@

    Can't wait to read more about your New Year trip hun!!!
    Em oxox

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    Replies
    1. Hi Em!! Thanks for reading as always I love your comments and I enjoy them a lot! Haha!I think Gion is another nice place (but I haven't been there though)But i hope you can see Geisha's there! you know there are some services that allows you to wear and really look like a geisha? I read somewhere haha! Seems like a fun activity but must be soooo expensive! Haha!

      OMG. I really don't like that Japanese floor toilet! I think I get cramps using it! I always worry I might fall inside the toilet bowl!?! WHAAAA!Haha! You should always try to use public toilet at big and modern establishments because if you end up needing to use a public toilet at a small place this would probably be the toilet you'll encounter! haha!

      Delete
  4. Wooow!!! This just looks beautiful! How amazing it must have been to get a chance to go there! If we book the trip we're thinking of, we will get to go to Kyoto ^.^ I'm not sure if we'll get to see this or not. It says in our brief itinerary that "we will visit zen gardens, pavillions and explore Gion in the evening" (gosh I hope we get to see some real Geisha's!! I also watched 'Memoirs of a Geisha' over and over hehe).

    Your 'traditional toilet' reaction is priceless! haha. Gosh if I run into one of those, I probably won't even know how to use it... @_@

    Can't wait to read more about your New Year trip hun!!!
    Em oxox

    ReplyDelete
  5. wahhh~~ so many people!! hatsumode is really crazy~~
    i bet if there are less people, like really few, it would be a surreal experience.. walking through the long paths.. tree branches being blown by the winds.. cicadas chirping (or whatever bird it is :3) and just a bit of sun rays here and there... it'll all be tranquil and peaceful, like how they practice their (shinto practitioners) meditations..

    ughh. those toilets are a hell trap! i don't like using them too, but if the nature's calling is too stong, you just really have to suck it up.. TT__TT western toilet is still the best~~ specially those who have seat warmers (my classmates who went to japan for a school trip were all amazeball of how hi-tech their toilets are!)

    japan have so many awesome shrines and well preserved too! makes me want to just work there and do conservation and restoration works over them~~

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  6. This shrine was actually amazing to me as well. But it was so cold,

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