Torii Tunnel

Shinto priest at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

It hardly gets any more iconic than at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine, one of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions.

Fushimi Inari’s grounds are large and of a complex layout that may seem very confusing at first glance. It consists of countless sub shrines, mounds for individual worship, cemeteries, statues, torii, and much, much more. On its premises, there are even a couple of little inns where you can have a break recharging your batteries. Most visitors, however, just check out the Senbon Torii, the famous tunnel of thousand torii gates, that is close to the entrance. And leave it at that.

Iconic Torii Gates

That the 2005 Hollywood movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” used the tunnel of torii for a key scene has certainly contributed to its popularity. The place starts getting packed with tourists usually between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning. In order to avoid the pack, you have basically two options. Either you go super early or in the dark (it is in fact accessible 24/7). The place’s quiet, slightly unearthly vibe at night makes for an interesting contrast to its hustle and bustle in daylight.

Getting There

Fushimi Inari is served by two local rail stations: Inari on the JR Nara line and Fushimi-Inari on the Keihan main line. Both are just a few hops from their main hubs Kyoto Station and Sanjo-Keihan. 

Lantern at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.