Located just 5 minutes away by train from Kyoto station is the Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine known for its famous Senbon Torii (thousand gates). The number is figurative of course – there are actually more than 20000 Torii gates in and around the shrine.
(above & below) A giant Ema board located near the entrance of the Shrine, decorated with brightly colored ribbons – upon closer scrutiny one realizes these ribbons are actually made by stringing together hundreds of tiny Origami cranes.
The main highlight of the shrine is of course the spectacular corridor of vermillion painted Torii gates. The ever shifting sunlight illuminates the gates in a spellbinding display of red that is just breathtakingly beautiful.
Inscribed on every single Torii are the names of the companies who have made donations to the shrine.
Taking these pictures was quite an exercise in patience due to the huge amount of human traffic traversing through and posing for shots, with the number increasing steadily through the day. I learned the definitive meaning of the words “opportune moment”.
(above) The gates as seen from the outside; its form not unlike a flaming red dragon winding its way through the forest. Sunlight shining through the verdant Momiji leaves animate beautiful patterns of shadows on the gates, the shapes dancing softly in the wind.
The seemingly perpetual gates line a pathway leading up the Inari mountains, where scores of Kitsune ( Fox spirits ) statues stand guard over the shrines. More pictures of these in the next post.18