From the first time I saw a photograph of the remarkable shrine at Fushimi Inari-Taisha, in a suburb of Kyoto, I wanted to see it for myself. The iconic orange gateways, torii in Japanese, that fill the site are hard to forget. The shrine is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of business and rice, and each tori is donated by a business to ensure blessings and good fortune for their endeavours. The temple was founded in 711 at the base of the mountain that shares the name of the god and shrine, Inari. His image is represented by a fox, which can be seen throughout the temple. In fact, visitors can offer their own fox ornaments as an offering.
On the outskirts of the immense temple grounds are a few food stalls and souvenir shops. I found it interesting to wander around and look at all the different foods on offer: octopus, various meats on sticks, and a number of things I simply couldn’t identify.
Title quote: Pico Iyer, Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East