I have missed one of Kyoto’s major highlights on all other trips but this time I made it to Fushimi Inari-Jinja twice in 2 days. The first time I was alone as Atsuko had gone back to the hotel, and as the sun was going down I made my way into the shrine not realising just how far the paths of red tori gates stretched. Inari Okami is the Shinto god of agriculture or rice and foxes are loyal messengers of this Inari god. I got completely lost in the dark forest for well over 2 hours, each red tunnel looking much the same as the next and I as I desperately tried to find my way out, all I could think about were the stories Atsuko had told me about foxes tricking and deceiving (mostly male) victims with illusions and visions. By the time I found my way out, just a little scared, it was pitch black on the mountain.
We returned the next morning together, and spent our last few hours in Kyoto among the beautiful red gates, with sun streaming between the gaps. (See what I mean about red+green?) It’s easy to see why this shrine is used frequently in Japanese commercials and Hollywood movies alike, it’s incredibly photogenic. You cannot take a bad photograph of this place. Have a look at the beautiful Gyakusou commercial (Nike x Undercover collaboration), it captures many of the places we visited in Kyoto. Click Running Monks.