Fushimi Inari Taisha Part Two
In the second part in a series of images from the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto the focus shifts to the many ‘torii’ gates that lead up into the mountain. I had seen picture of the torii gates before but I didn’t realise that they carried on for such a distance up the mountain – supposedly there are around 40,000 gates travelling 4km up the mountain.
Behind the main shrine is the entrance to the torii gate covered trail which leads up up the mountain. These start as dense parallel gates (Senbon Torii – “thousands of torii gates”) which eventually lead to different paths.
As I mentioned in the previous post there are a lot of foxes around the shrine, and were considered messengers/guardians for Inari (god of rice), and here you could inscribe a face on the wooden fox head – you can see someone used their imagination here.
We wandered off the gate trail for a while, heading up the mountain by other pathways. It was a nice view looking back over the gates snaking their way through the trees. Much like the gates allowed channels of light to pass through the tree canopy created streams of light, and in one case happened to illuminate this little plant. This area was very challenging for photography – strong lights and strong shade in combination – but I think in this case it turned out well.
The gates really are very vibrant and at one point I wondered if they got maintained at all, or just had really durable paint. Then we came across a man (working between the cones) freshening up the paint on some of the arches.
Many of the gates are donated by individuals or companies, with their name inscribed on the backs of the gates. This signs explains how much the gates cost – essentially the bigger the gate you want to donate, the larger amount of money you need. Some of them are over one million yen (around £6000)!