Mount Inari: one of the most fascinating, interesting, intriguing, uplifting, cool, spiritual places I have ever visited.
Yes, there are legions of tourists below at the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. Especially when you do exactly as a more experienced American traveler in Japan told you exactly not to do, by going in the afternoon. However, the main shrine at the mountain base is a must see.
According to japan-guide.com, “Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine had ancient origins, pre dating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.”
Once I took the road less traveled and followed a series of trail passageways up to the mountaintop, that is when I fully realized the power of Mount Inari. Regardless of one’s faith, one cannot resist being moved to pray repeatedly, giving thanks and appreciation for the opportunity to navigate within sacred space.
The photographs below will take you on this journey, from the entrance to the shrine at mountain’s base, through the bamboo and cedar forests and then on to the top of Mount Inari.
There will be no captions. So, imagine sit by most shrines hinted with incense, misty-foggy air, the sound of waterfalls in several spots and solitude nearly the entire climb. Basically, feel like Indiana Jones searching through secret ruins of eras past…