Before I knew the name I knew of the gates. The thousands of vermilion torii gates, their imagery used in films and photos. Those gates belong to Fushimi Inari Shrine.  One of the oldest and most important of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, Fushimi Inari has ancient origins dating back to 711. The torii gates line trails that lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari which stands 233 meters above sea level.

Since the Edo period (1603 – 1868) visitors have donated torii gates to express prayers and appreciation. Donor’s names are inscribed on the back of the gates.   The fox is viewed as a messenger from Inari. Stone foxes are found throughout smaller temples found along the trail to the summit.  Yotsutsuji intersection, roughly half way up the mountain, offers fantastic views of Kyoto. 

After hundreds of steps we reach the 233 meter summit of Mount Inari. We offer prayers at Kami-no-Yashiro shrine.