Hike the Torii Gates to Mount Inari Peak
Rate this Adventure Japan › Fuschimi-Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan
Added by Michael Gabbert
A refreshing, yet demanding 8km hike through the iconic Senbon Torii in Kyoto leading to the peak of Mount Inari.
Starting at the Fushimi Inari-taisha, the head shrine of the Inari, the hike to the top of Mount Inari is a refreshing yet surprisingly demanding hike within Kyoto, Japan. The Torii gates, thousands upon thousands of them in a row, provide a gorgeous setting for a hike. The gates, which have varying hues of vibrant orange and bright red, line your route as you hike to the peak.
Located just south of the main Kyoto area, the easiest route is to take the JR line. From Kyoto Station, you’ll take the Nara Line towards Nara. The Inari Station is the 2nd stop and only takes 5 minutes to reach from the Kyoto Station. Once you exit the rail station and cross the street, you’ll be directly in front of the Fushimi Inari-tiasha.
At 8km round trip distance and 750 feet in elevation, the hike itself is straightforward. Add in the summer heat/humidity, the seemingly endless steps, and any weight you bring in your backpack, you’ll find that the hike is more challenging than its simple stats would lead you to believe.
The trail starts with a series of the tallest Torri gates you’ll encounter on the hike. Once through these, you’ll encounter dual-tunnels of torii gates. These gates are the situated the closest together of any series of gates on the hike and allow for the best photo opportunity (as you’ll likely be able to discern by the sizeable amount of selfies being taken here). It’s here where many people turn around or linger for a majority of the time in the park. However, the hike is just beginning at this point. You’ll continue to hike under the torii gates as you make your way up Mount Inari. About ¾ of the way up (30-40 minutes), you’ll reach a gorgeous panoramic viewpoint which overlooks Kyoto. Take a break here, take in the view, and prepare yourself for the final stretch. The push to the peak of Mount Inari is another 10-15 minutes from this point. The view isn’t as spectacular once you arrive at the top but the feeling of reaching the peak will be rewarding. In total, it takes 45-60 minutes going up and 30-40 minutes coming back down. There are vending machines along the way with Water and Pocari Sweat (seriously, the best drink in Japan), so it isn’t crucial that you bring a ton of water.
As with most touristy locations, go early to beat the crowds. The setting and area on its own is quite peaceful and relaxing, so the sooner in the morning you can go, the more of that essence you’ll encounter.
- Tennis Shoes/Hiking Shoes
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