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Ten Thousand Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine

JAPAN | Wednesday, 24 April 2024 | Views [95]

Some of the ten thousand or so Torii gates at Fushimi Inari

Some of the ten thousand or so Torii gates at Fushimi Inari

WE HAD ALREADY SEEN THE “BESTEST.” Now we’ve seen the “mostest.” Torii, that is—those bright red gates that mark the gateway between the human and sacred worlds in the Shinto religion.

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          Floating Torii, Miyajima

After a typhoon forced us to Hiroshima in 2014, we took a day-trip to Itsukushima Shrine World Heritage Site on Miyajima Island. The 50-foot high “Floating Gate” is probably the most famous—certainly the most photographed—of all the torii gates in Japan.

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                      First Torii—Fushimi Inari Shrine

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                         Say a little prayer—Fushimi Inari Shrine

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                     Fushimi Inari is still an active shrine

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            Japanese school kids are well-behaved

Fushimi Inari Shrine undoubtedly has more torii gates than any other shrine. Fushimi Inari was already crowded when we arrived.. A quartet of girls in middy school uniforms bowed in prayer while a large group—phones held high—recorded a Shinto ceremony. More than two-thirds of Japanese practice Shintoism—two-thirds also claim to be Buddhist. Go figure.

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                   Stone lanterns and Torii Gates—Fushimi Inari Shrine

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                 Into the Woods . . .

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                . . . and Uphill!

Religion aside, Fushimi Inari’s big attraction is the trail of 10,000 or more bright red torii gates meandering through the forest for four kilometers up Mount Inari-san. Each torii was donated by a Japanese business—the big ones go for 1.3 million yen, about eight grand US. Some sections are so thick with gates they appear to be a “torii tunnel’’ while the path curves invitingly in other places. We stopped about 400 meters from the end at a lake with dozens of private shrines, most with a sacred fox, the Rice God Inari’s avatar. My favorite shrine held a bottle of saki—empty of course.

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              Fox avatars and Shinto shrine

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                  The best way to be remebered

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                Umbrella Salute—Fushimi Inari Shrine

It started to rain just before we returned to the bottom of the trail so we decided to head back home for lunch. Even though we took a train to and from the Shrine, we ended up walking seven miles today and in the evening we had plans to celebrate our Thirtieth Anniversary and 13 years as Vagabonds!

 

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