Down in the southern half of Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the most famous Shinto shrine in the city which is home to thousands of vermillion torii gates. Throughout the shrine you’ll also see many fox statues. Foxes were said to be the messengers of Inari, the Shinto god of rice. I tried to get up early to visit the shrine before most of the tourist crowds showed up and as I was walking around the buildings near the shrine’s entrance it seemed like I would be able to get a clean photo of Fushimi Inari’s famed torii gate hallways without any people in the shot.
Unfortunately that was not the case. I had arrived early, but not early enough to get the photo I wanted. Too many people were already roaming around the torii gate hallways and I quickly realized that I’d have to come back another time to get the photo I wanted.
I was disappointed in myself for not getting to the shrine early enough to capture the photo I wanted, but rather than leave I decided I’d spend twenty or so minutes exploring a pathway the branched off from the main trail. This short hike took me into the woods south of the shrine and while there wasn’t too much to see it helped me get my head back in the right spot and when I turned around and returned to the main trail I was ready to resume my sightseeing in Kyoto.
As I came back down towards the shrine I got to see the torii gate hallways from the outside. Although they are not actual hallways, the torii gates are placed so closely together that they almost form a continuous structure. In a couple days I’d return to Fushimi Inari for a second attempt at the photo I wanted, and to make sure it happened I promised myself that I’d show up at dawn.