Kyoto – Fushimi-Inari Taisha


Fushimi-Inari Taisha –

It was hot, crowded, and full of color.  The colors mixing with the sunlight created a kind of drunk feeling.  Maybe it was the fever I was most likely running that week, but I like to think it was the colors and sunlight.  They danced with the shadows and mixed with the hum of people talking and moving about.  Obon week in Kyoto is a crowded experience.  Deciding to go to one of the most popular destinations in the city ensures that you will get to share the experience with a large number of people. That isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The constant hum of the crowds didn’t actually become apparent until it disappeared.  Despite the insane crowds, there were still areas of Fushimi-Inari that were practically deserted.  Fushimi-Inari is a massive shrine complex.  It has a lot of torii…I mean an insane amount.  It also has a lot of offshoots.


My plan was simple.  Get up, dressed, and to the shrine early in the day before heading out to a few other sites.  Yes, I felt awful.  A head cold had become a chest cold that morphed into an infection of some kind.  It hurt to breath.  I was hot and cold.  Basically, I probably should have stayed in Kanazawa and rested but I had already booked the trip and did not want to spend my vacation feeling miserable in my apartment.  I told myself I was fine.  I got up, got dressed nicely, and headed out into the heat.

By the time I arrived at the shrine I was a sweaty mess.  It was crowded but I figured I could be in and out in two hours.  About five hours later I finally left Fushimi-Inari.  Five hours and I didn’t even see the whole complex.  There are so many offshoots from the main path to the top of the mountain.  Going down those offshoots is like traveling down a rabbit hole.  One minute you’re headed up the mountain and the next, you can’t tell which way you’re headed.

So there I was, hot and sweaty, in a skirt, nice top, and flip flops – and I was climbing a mountain.  Now, when I say I was climbing a mountain, it wasn’t really a mountain, there were stairs and such.  But still, it wasn’t the easiest climb to make in flip flops.  I did make it to the top.  I learned a couple of things on my way there.  The higher up the mountain you go, the less people there are.  There were even stretches where I did not see anyone.  Also, the higher you go the more expensive beverages become.  Japan is the land of the vending machine, and yes, there are vending machines on the mountain!

By the time I made it down the mountain all I wanted to do was take a nap!  I grabbed a quick lunch of cold udon and headed back to the hostel for a much needed nap.


 I hope you all enjoyed the photos!  Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask!




  1. I feel so much fail right now because I don’t think my friend and I even reached the top of the mountain, haha! I kind of remember taking another path that curved downwards instead of the other that seemed to lead uphill.

    • It was a tough climb in the heat. I am not a heat person and the camera I was using is a bit on the heavier side. A reason to visit Kyoto again!

  2. Hi Emily:

    I finely got your blog from your Mom tonight….I have enjoyed reading your blog of your adventures. Especially the public baths. Sounds like you are doing well. Richard really misses you and has told many people how good you were to work with. I think your photo’s are amazing and very interesting. How about some pictures of where you live so we get an idea of normal Japan.

    Take care and keep in touch.

    • Hi Barbara!

      I’m glad you like it. I will post some pictures of where I live over the next few weeks.

      Things are moving along here and work keeps me busy. I do find time to have fun though! Say hello to everyone for me. I wish I could commute back and forth so I could take photos for Richard.

      Lots of love and hugs

  3. HI Emily:

    We sure miss you around here. Richard has not found a replacement yet. I don’t think he will ever find one as good as you were/ are. We both hope you are enjoying your time in Japan.
    We are leaving for a 10 day trip down south starting at a car race and going to Myrtle Beach and Charelston then back to Chinquatique….where the wild horses run on an island by the beach. Should be back around Oct. 1.
    Enjoy your time there and we look forward to your blog and pictures.

    Love ya

    • Hi Barbara,

      I’m working on getting some photos of the area together and will post them shortly! Hope you have a good time on your trip.

      Lots of love,

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