(Fox) Shinto Shrine
I went through this attractive gate and had no idea what I
was getting myself into. On either side of the gate are foxes,
which I learned are to be placated for the benefit of farmers
here at the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shinto Shrine, leader of
30,000 such Shinto Shrines in Japan. Shinto is Japan's own
historic religion, now practiced alongside Buddhism.
Then I ended up in a series of trails formed by classical red
torii gates. The shrine is world famous for these, and sells
space on them. You can see the messages, which range from
religious statements to business advertisements. Putting up a
gate message is supposed to bring good luck. I discovered
that only one side of the gate trails is written upon.
Now I was high up in a forest, contemplating the entrance
to yet another red torii gate trail that leads up a mountain.
Very attractive, and also an invitation to get totally lost.
There is beauty in these gate trails, but staying here all day
meant not seeing enough of Kyoto's other gems. Exit, please.