Tunnel of Torii

Lantern at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

One of Japan’s most iconic sights, the tunnel of red torii at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine is a remarkably popular tourist spot.

Fushimi Inari’s grounds are large and of a complex layout hard to comprehend at a first glance. It consists of countless sub shrines, mounds for individual worship, cemeteries, statues, torii, and much, much more. Its premises even include a couple of little inns where you can have a break to recharge your batteries. Most visitors, however, just come to check out the famous gates tunnel and leave it at that. The Senbon Torii, as it is called in Japanese, are no more than a short walk from the entrance.

Avoiding the Pack

The fact that the 2005 Hollywood movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” used the tunnel of torii for a key scene certainly bolstered its popularity. Usually, the place starts getting packed with tourists no later than 8:30am. So, you better go there super early in the morning. As it is open 24/7, another option would be visiting it at night. The quiet, slightly unearthly ambience will make for a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle during the day for sure.

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 or Sanjo-Keihan. 

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

Shinto priest at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.