Stopping for Lunch At Fushimi Inari Shrine

(Click here to start this blog series on Fushimi Inari Shrine from the beginning.)

Fushimi Inari’s famous gates continue all the way up the mountain.

Fushimi Inari Gates (Best)

Over a dozen “stations,” consisting of sub-shrines, restaurants, and teahouses line the mountain’s slopes, offering visitors a place to stop and pray, leave offerings, or rest and enjoy a cup of tea or a snack along the way. 

Gates and Restaurant

My favorite place to stop sits about halfway up Mount Inari, at a crossroads where a lovely traditional restaurant welcomes guests and offers amazing views of Kyoto:

Kyoto From Inariyama Crossroads

The interior of the restaurant is just as special as the view. It’s built in the traditional style, with raised seating areas and Japanese-style tables:

Restaurant on Inariyama

Here’s another view:

Restaurant Panoramic

Like many restaurants in Japan, the menu offerings change wth the seasons–but my favorite dish, inarizushi, remains on the menu all year round.


Reputed to be a favorite of the kami Inari as well as his kitsune messengers (kitsune are shape-changing spirits that often appear in the form of a fox–hence the fox statues that populate Fushimi Inari and other Inari shrines)inarizushi consists of sweet sushi rice and black sesame wrapped in fried tofu skin:

Inarizushi (1)

It might sound offputting, if you’re not used to tofu (or haven’t had it prepared this way) but I promise, the dish appeals to even the pickiest Western palates. It’s delicious!

The pink slivers on the side of the plate are pickled ginger. Tsukemono (pickled vegetables) are a part of almost every Japanese meal. The type and color varies to complement the dishes served. In the case of inarizushi, pickled ginger is often the go-to choice–which I love, because pickled ginger is one of my favorites.

Fushimi Inari Subshrine

After lunch and a cup of tea, it’s time to hit the trail again for the next leg of our journey up the mountain. Click here for the next installment!