Probably, this is one of the most famous shrines in Kyoto for foreigners. The “Senbon Torii”, which means 1,000 Torii gates (actually, there are more than 10,000), makes this shrine very famous. A “Torii” is the border between the mundaneness and the sacred area. People may imagine the mysterious lined Torii tunnel leads to the sacred area of the God, and indeed, it is a mystic place and we can find thousands of photos of those. Actually, people tend to visit there because of those photos. It gives us a strong impression. By the way, the reason why the torii gates are bright red is that the color has vitality, and it expresses the power of the Inari god.
After the tunnel, I reached the Okuno-In, the sub-shrine of this grand shrine. There were interesting stones, called “Omokaru Ishi”. It is a pair of stone lanterns, and first, we pray something (For example, it is the family happiness, or healthy life, anything would be fine.) Then, we try to lift the head of the lanterns. Then, if the person feels the stone is lighter than imagined, the wish will come true. On the other hand, if the person feels it heavy, unfortunately, the wish will not come true. I tried, but I could not even lift it… What did it mean?
This time, I could not go up to the top, but it was an interesting hiking experience. Next time, when I have time, I would like to try again. One reason is, the course was not too hard, and another reason is because there are thousands of torii gates, the entire mountain was like a huge sacred area. So, I thought that it would be a great place for being sunk in thought, especially when I have to judge something. It would be a great chance to ask the voice to my own heart, surrounded by the god of Inari.
When you visit here, I would like to suggest these;
- To go forward after the Senbon Torii for enjoying walking
- To visit to pray for your business prosperity (if you wish), because the shrine is the most famous one for such wishes
- To see the strength of people’s believes, it is nice to visit there in the New year’s day (Around 250,000 people visit during the New Year’s days)