First Torii Gate ～ Romon(楼門)
“Fushimi Inari Taisha” is so famous for wishing business prosperity and became very popular for foreign visitors to walk through “Senbon Torii” thousand Torii Gate. Locally it is known as “Inari-san” , and it is one of the most popular shrine for the new year visit.
It is said that there are about 30,000 Inari Shrines nationwide, and “Fushimi Inari Taisha” here is the headquarter of inari Shrines.
As the whole Inari Mountain is a sacred area, you can walk upto the summit through thousands of torii gates in a few hours. There are many other shrines and things to see in the mountains, so if you like hiking, it is recommended that you spend a couple of hours slowly walking around. You can soak yourself in the mysterious space and the fresh air, you will feel much better and your luck will increase.
JR Inari Station & Honmachi Street
Just in front of Fushimi Inari Shrine entrance first Torii Gate, you will see the JR Nara line Inari Station(JR奈良線 稲荷駅). It designed like shrine, so you may not see it as train station. Next to it, there is a convenience store, which is called “Daily Yamazaki”. If you are going up to the summit, you better have something to drink. The street in front is called Honmachi- dori(本町通) , it is one way street to north(to city, kyoto station).
When you come out from JR Inari Station, you will be greeted by the statue of the fox next to the first Torii Gate. The messenger of the god of Inari Shrine, “Inari Okami” is said to be a “fox” (white fox). There are many statues of foxes in the precincts, and they held various things in their mouth. The fox in front is holding rice ears. It is believed that the ear of rice comes from the god of good harvest. Originally, Inari Okami was the god of grain and agriculture.
The approach to Shrine(Sando), First Torii and Fox statue.
Until last year 2019, it was ranking No. 1 in the “Japanese tourist spots popular for foreign travellers”, but now because of COV19 it is not crowded at all.
Free parking for worshipers: There are about 200 free parking spaces, but it is often closed during various festivals, and they are often full during school excursions, but now there is no problem at all, plenty of spaces.
Romon: The tower gate that the Shogun Hideyoshi rebuilt to pray for his mother’s illness
The original building year is unknown because the buildings in the precincts of Fushimi Inari Shrine were almost burned out during the Onin War.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is also popular for the benefits of recovery from illness because the Romon gate was rebuilt by Hideyoshi with his wish for his mother’s recovery.
Currently water basin(Temizusya 手水舎) is closed because of COV19. Basically it is to purify yourself before you visit the shrine to pray in front of deity. There is a instruction in English how to wash your hands to purify yourself. It was used to be very crowded here as many foreign tourists try to follow the instruction purifying themselves.
Fox statues in front of Romon
The fox of Inari Taisha are originally transparent and invisible to the human eye. The fox is not a god but a messenger of God”Inari Okami”.
There are 4 types of fox folding in the mouth, “balls, keys, scrolls, rice ears.”
The right fox at the tower gate holds the ball, and the left holds the key.
Balls(wish fullfilling jewel): Symbol of the benefits of Inari Okami.
Keys: symbol of willing to have the benefits of Inari Okami
Rice ears(Inaho): symbol of rich harvest and agriculture deity.
Scroll(makimono): symbol of wisdom.