The Fushimi Inari-Taisha (伏 見 稲 荷 大 社) is the main Shinto shrine dedicated to the spirit of Inari, and located in Fushimi-ku, one of the districts of Kyoto (Japan). The sanctuary is located at the base of a mountain also known as "Inari" which includes several paths to reach other smaller shrines.
From ancient times in Japan Inari was seen as the patron of business (while each Torii existing in the sanctuary has been donated by a Japanese businessman) but first off Inari goddess of rice. Merchants and artisans offered worship Inari in exchange for wealth in their businesses, so they donated numerous torii that are currently part of the panoramic view of the temple. This famous temple is said to possess more than 32,000 small shrines.
It is especially known for the thousands of red toriis delimiting the way down the hill on which is situated the sanctuary. Torii are donated by individuals, families or companies. The spirit of Inari it is considered as protector of crops, especially rice, and therefore has historically been associated with wealth. Companies often make offerings to the shrines of Inari in the form of barrels of sake or torii. He is considered one of the most beautiful places in Kyoto, and one of the symbols of Japan.
Since its founding in 711, the shrine became the object of Imperial patronage during the early Heian Period. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers (heihaku) were sent to report all important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially sent to a total of 16 shrines, including the Shrine was also found to Inari. Between 1871 and 1946 the Fushimi Inari was officially included in the Kanpei-taisha, which meant it was under support of the Japanese government.
The first structures were built to the 711 in the southwestern hill Inariyama Kyoto, but the sanctuary would be relocated in the 816 at the request of the monk Kūkai. The main structure of the sanctuary was built in 1499.
At the base of the hill is the sanctuary Go Honden (御 本 殿) and the door of Sakura or Sakura-mon. After touring the hiking trails flanked by toriis, you can stop at various food stalls that offer Kitsune udon, a popular noodle dish that takes its name from foxes (kitsune), which are the messengers of Inari. The statues of foxes are often represented in the sanctuaries of Inari with a key (for canned rice barn) in their mouths. Atop the hill is the main sanctuary; Unlike most shinto shrines, and like other shrines dedicated to Inari, you can see openly idol contained in the sanctuary (a mirror). Apart from the most famous aligned by torii, on the opposite side trails there are other paths that run through a bamboo forest and offers quite a different experience from the main route.