Hands down, Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社) has to be my favourite place in all of Kyoto. In fact, I loved it so much that I actually ended up going twice on my trip! I wasn't entirely satisfied with my pictures the first time, so like any crazy photographer would I revisited early on a weekday and it was amazing. There wasn't a soul in sight except for a few grannies on their morning stroll. I also spotted some young women in suits, making a quick visit before what I assume was an important job interview.
It's pretty easy to tell which photos were and weren't taken on the weekend! Regardless of when you visit though, there's something so relaxing about strolling through those red gates. What most photos don't show is the fact that Fushimi Inari is basically in the middle of the forest. You can really hear the sounds of nature and birds chirping, making for an unforgettable experience.
On the back of the torii gates you'll find the names of their donors, as well as a date stamp. There are actually quite a few empty spots, since the gates get knocked down when they start to rot and are deemed unsafe.
If you're up for the hike, it is possible to climb all the way to the top of Mount Inari. Believe me though, by the time I reached the halfway point I was already dying! The stairs get a lot steeper past this point, so most people turn around there.
A lucky sighting of a shrine priest! An old Japanese man was also there taking pictures and when the priest passed, we kind of looked at each other in shock before going to follow him haha.
Why all the fox imagery, you may ask? In Japanese folklore foxes are the messengers of the gods, although not always the most reliable ones. Apparently there are many legends of humans being tricked by malevolent foxes, particularly those posing as beautiful women. In any case, there's definitely no shortage of fox-related souvenirs to buy around here!