Looking Back at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Looking Back

Hiking up the mountain at Fushimi Inari-taisha brings to you a near endless expanse of torii gates. This view is more simple, but still expresses the vast infinity you feel hiking through the mountains. This is early on and the deeper into the mountains you get the more the gates begin to thin out. The more too does nature take over and you less and less see other hikers. This is one of my favorite places in Japan, but please go early and be prepared to hike a long way to find some peace this wonderful place has to offer visitors.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s
  • Title: Looking Back at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Temple

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I went on a walk searching for a temple. I got lost and it started to rain…hard.

It often happens to me during my travels. I tend to get lost, I even TRY to get lost. Sure I have my phone, so I am never TRULY lost, but believe me…I get lost. I also like to walk places. I feel like I get to see more and see the color of places if I walk. Sometimes I am detrimentally stubborn about it, but the wander is hard to satisfy.

This day, my wandering soul found this beautiful place at the top of a small hill. I am not entirely sure where in Kyoto it is, but this entry was very beautiful and nestled quietly away allowing for reflection. I generally don’t care for people in my photos, but this couple seemed to fit.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Kyoto Temple

Torii Gates in the Rain at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Tripadvisor Hell

When I arrived at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto Japan there were a ton of people. I was also greeted with row after row of flags proclaiming the site on the best in Kyoto according to Tripadvisor (le sigh!). It’s not that I dislike Tripadvisor, on the contrary, they are often a relied upon site for travel info, but being voted one of the best also means TOURISTS!

I was quickly overwhelmed, despite arriving early with the throngs of people. I realized in order to find some degree of privacy I would need to do one of my favorite things…hike! Fushimi Inari-taisha is a vast tract of land expanding up into the surrounding mountainside. Many of the temples are a considerable and arduous cardiovascular trek into the hills, and soon I was leaving the masses behind and spending some much needed time in the Japanese wilderness. In the end I have to say, Tripadvisor got it right Fushimi Inari-taisha is one of the best sites in Kyoto!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 6400
  • Location: 34° 57.996′ 0″ N 135° 46.5252′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Torii Gates in the Rain at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Fox Prayer Card

Shinto Fox Prayer Cards

The major Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan is Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is one of the most amazing religious places I have see first hand (up there with Notre Dame and La Sagrada Familia). The Tori Gates go on and on and on, winding through the adjacent mountains and forests. The builders of this place must have loved nature or they wanted to get away from the THRONGS of people at the main entrance.

I have seen prayer cards before in Japan, but Fushimi Inari Taisha had several including these great fox faces. The fox is a messenger in Shinto (I am NO Shinto expert) and who better to carry your prayers! Many of the people drawing were quite good artists! This anime girl caught my attention among the row and rows of prayers.

Photo Technical Info

Ornate Door at Meiji Jingu


A quick post today…this door caught my eye when first entering Meiji Jingu. It’s a simple door, wonderfully carved but not the one you would go through. There is a much larger entry to the left, but I found this one…I don’t know why, but I was drawn to it’s smallness. I was drawn to it’s simplicity.

Prayers of the World

Writing your Dreams

I knew very little of Meiji Jingu Shrine before I visited. I knew what the guidebook told me about the space to honor the spirit of the Emperor and his wife. The site is full of tourists, but also with regular Japanese people spending time in ceremony. It was a strange cosmic convergences where the practitioners lost in the murmurations of prayer form some harmonious counterpoint with the wandering spirits of overwhelmed travelers. Perhaps we are one in the same, no different as we both seek something we can’t understand or begin to explain.

All Languages Welcome

One of the things people do at the temple is purchase one of these cards (Ema) to write their dreams. I am not certain dream is the correct word. Prayer is likely more accurate, but the former seemed accurate for the few cards that I could decipher. What struck me was the variety of language contained in the Ema. Shinto does not make some of the demands of other religions. You are generally not required to profess your faith, which seems a very open and inviting.