Thursday morning- Us in front of the Two-storied Gate
You start at the base of the Inari mountain with the two-storied gate followed by the main shrine. As you follow the trail up the mountain you go through Torii gates and visit the other smaller shrines until you reach the top of the mountain which is 233 meters (764 feet) above sea level. We were told it would take us about 2 hours to walk up and took almost exactly that amount of time (counting the time it took me to snap hundreds of photos).
Map shows main gate, main shrine, torii, and other shrines
Monks visiting the main shrine
We visited a lot of shrines and temples on our visit to Japan but what was really special about this site were the Torii gates and the way they interacted with the natural beauty of the mountain. Torii gates were the inspiration for The Gates art installation in Central Park in 2005 by the Bulgarian artist Christo Yavacheff and French artist Jeanne-Claude. I've been disappointed I missed that exhibit while it was in New York, but now I've seen the original and it's amazing.
I love the Torii Gates
Senbon Torii (1000 Gates)- The place where the gates are side by side.
Cool from the this angle
And from this one
The gates were different heights and there were varying amount of spaces between them and the natural setting changed from area to area. All of this contributed to a different feeling as you went through each area.
The were higher and more spaced
A shrine area along the way
View of Kyoto
View of Kyoto behind me. We're about 75% of the way up now.
Another shrine-type area
I was feeling pretty proud of myself. The hike felt challenging to me and I hadn't complained at all about the millions of steps we had been going up. Then I saw an old Japanese lady chugging along in front of me at about an equal or faster pace and I no longer felt proud. I felt like a whiney American.
San no mine (near fox cloud on map)- with my new old lady inspiration
Ichi no mine- near the top of the mountain
Top of the mountain selfie!
My fox imitation- also how I feel after hiking a mountain
On the way back down now
On the way back down
Gozendani worship place
Tied up fortunes