CHAPTER 20: On Mount Inari

CHAPTER 20: On Mount Inari

Fushimi Inari Taisha winds up the slopes of Mt. Inari like a coiled dragon made of vermilion gates; while many visitors go no farther than the first station, Mom, Laurie, Kaitlyn, and I made the hour-long trek to the summit, as a “training climb” that would let me assess our potential pace for the upcoming (and far longer) climb of Fuji.

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Climbing Mount Inari (Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto)

Climbing Mount Inari (Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto)

Yesterday morning, I completed the second non-solo ascent of my 100 Summits Project: Mount Inari (Fushimi Inari Taisha) in Kyoto. The day before, I traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto via shinkansen (bullet train) with my mother, stepdad, and family friends Laurie and Kaitlyn Bolland (as well as my son) to begin several days of hiking and R&R in advance of our planned ascent of Mt. Fuji later this week. (While the weather may not cooperate on Fuji, we’re hoping the predicted storms pass by and we get the chance to climb.)

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The Cats of Fushimi Inari

Like many Japanese shrines and temples, Fushimi Inari Taisha, south of Kyoto, has its share of resident cats. Although not numerous, the cats appear to be permanent residents of the shrine, and though some, like this little fellow: seem to live on the mountain itself. That said, unlike most feral cats, the residents of Fushimi Inari seemed eager for human attention. The handsome tuxedo in the photo above followed me along the path, meowing insistently, until I stopped to pet him. A group of visitors gathered behind me, pointing at the cat, and as soon as I left him they moved in

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The Path of 1,000 Torii (Fushimi Inari, Part 3)

(Click here to start the series from the beginning.) Near the base of Mount Inari (Inariyama), past the stairs that lead from the Hondo (worship hall) to the path that climbs the sacred mountain, lies the famous “Path of a Thousand Torii” – a tunnel made of sacred gates that has become a familiar, iconic image of Japan: At the start of the path, enormous torii tower twenty and thirty feet high, dwarfing visitors. Inside the path, the gates are placed so close together that the light takes on an orange hue:

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The Dragon Shrine on Japan’s Mt. Inari

One of my favorite aspects of Japan, and Japanese culture, is the constant possibility of discovering something unexpected. If you keep your eyes (and mind) open while traveling in Japan, you will discover a multitude of fascinating things to see, do, eat, and experience, many of which may take you by surprise. While visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine) I climbed the path up Mt. Inari, following the pilgrim route to the shrine at the very top of the mountain. Along the way, the “normal path” passes through a variety of stations, sub-shrines and places where visitors can stop to worship or enjoy

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