Torii Tunnel

Shinto priest at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

It hardly gets any more iconic than with 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 a little daunting 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 and recharge your batteries. Most visitors, however, just come to check out the Senbon Torii, the famous tunnel of thousand torii gates that is close to the entrance. And leave it at that.

Avoiding the Pack

That the 2005 Hollywood movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” used the tunnel of torii for a key scene has certainly given its popularity a boost. Usually, the place starts getting packed with tourists no later than 8:30am. In order to avoid the pack you have two options, basically. Either you visit it super early in the morning, or you go there in the dark (it is open 24/7). At night, the place’s quiet, slightly unearthly ambience could not be any further away from the hustle and bustle that surrounds it in daylight.

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. 

Lantern at Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan.