I have always been fascinated by the tori gates that are located at the entrance of shrines, my favorites located in Yoyogi Park. Fushimi Inari Shrine isn't know for just a couple tori gates but for thousands that line a network of trails leading up Mount Inari. Inari is the shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers so in addition to the thousands of tori gates, you also see many fox statues. We picked up the cutest fox stuffed animal for Gabriel at this shrine, unless you count kit kats, this was the only souvenir we purchased on our trip.
The tori gates are purchased by individual and company donors for prices as high as tens of thousands of dollars, the cheapest are about $4,000. Donors get to have their name and date written on the back of the tori gates.
We were told that it wasn't worth summiting the mountain but we figured, why not! It was a pretty extensive hike while baby wearing and nursing said baby but we're hikers and didn't feel like our trip would be complete without getting to the top. Not to our surprise there were just more tori gates at the top. Bummer to those whose tori gate got pushed to the bottom of the stacks.
I enjoyed the walk down more than up, not just because of it being physically easier, but because all the inscribing was visible. Chris and I talked about whether or not it looked delightful and artistic to the Japanese. I pictured each tori gate having someones name stamped on it in English and to me that sounded tacky; curious if that translates culturally?