Hatsumode in Inari

Happy New Year everyone!

If you have ever dreamed about what it feels like to be in Memoirs of a Geisha and Rurouni Kenshin, then this is the shrine to go.  It is considered as one of the big 3 shrines in Japan, alongside Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine and Osaka’s Sumiyoshi Taisha.

Any trip to Japan would largely be trivial without visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine (and Kyoto!).  There is just nothing in the world like it.

Here’s how hatsumode (first Shinto shrine visit of the year) is done in Kyoto!

 

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January 1st is chaotic in Inari. Security and traffic were very efficient though. Inari can be accessed via the Nara line from JR Kyoto Station and costs 140 yen one way.  Entrance to the shrine is free.
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After 15 minutes, we reached the first torii gate. Whew.
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Entrance to the main temple grounds. I tried my best to minimize the heads.
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Traffic gets even worse inside. And this was at 1:30PM! If you want to ring the bells and offer prayers, best to go really early.
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The vermillion journey begins! Arm yourself with some trusty shoes and dress in layers. The weather during this time might be cold, but you are surely going to sweat buckets on the way up.
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FYI: According to one of the signs, 10 torii gates amounts to a donation of around 1.3M yen!
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Just do the math!
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There were Chinese hoisted messages on this torii according to my friend. We’re not sure how it got there,
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A place to offer candles and prayers.
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More steps! I lost count after 10.
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Miniature versions are studded all over the shrine and mark people who passed on.

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The way down is even more fascinating as you get to see the names of the people and companies who donated these.
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Top!
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The line was too long. But still worth it!
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View of Uji from above!

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Happy 2016 from Kyoto!