Do you like stairs? Do you like shrines? Do you like foxes? Do you like nature? If you answer yes to these questions, I would suggest a visit to Fushimi Inari in Kyoto. You can reach it easily by bus, though it takes a bit of a ride.
It takes a good deal of walking to get to the top, but there are countless shrines along the way and a lot of nature to take in.
The view from the bottom (part of it); the main shrine area
The view from *almost* the top.
Fushimi Inari is full of beautiful trees and vistas...
full of these beautiful red gates...
and as you might guess from the name, it is full of foxes.
After all, Inari is a god/goddess representing rice, agriculture, business, and more, who employs white foxes as messengers. Of course a shrine for Inari would be full of foxes! I was of the mistaken belief that the god was a fox him/herself, but that is not the case, it seems.
The various long, meandering paths, the beautiful, quiet scenery, and the stately red gates scattered throughout added up to a peaceful, cleansing morning for me and my friend Doro. I was energized by the nature around and captivated by the thousands of fox statues. I think if I lived in Kyoto I would want to live near by; it seems like a wonderful place to walk on the weekend.
Fushimi Inari Shrine is definitely worth a visit and a look see. But if you go, make sure to bring something to drink. The higher up on the trail you go, the more expensive the beverages in the machines become!