When I posted part 1 of my Fushimi Inari Taisha coverage, I discussed just the arrival to the area before entering Romon (The main gate).
Fushimi Inari Taisha is so massive that there is so much to look at and see and when you leave, you won’t feel you saw everything because there are a lot of pathways that take you to different areas, may they be kitsune (fox) areas, stores or other structures. The place is quite massive that each time you visit it, you find yourself discovering new things each time.
This post features on what is after Romon but before reaching the famous Senbon Torii and walking up the mountain.
So, once you past the Romon gate, you will see a variety of structures up front, to your left, to your right.
The one structure you will see in this inner section is called Honden.
According to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Website:
Five deities are enshrined together in the main shrine building. The building is made in a style called Uchikoshi Nagashi-zukuri, with corridor-style decorations and 10.6m-high walls on either side.
All of the buildings and towers in the precinct were burned down in the Onin Rebellion in 1468. A temporary building was planned and donations were collected, allowing the main shrine building to be rebuilt in 1499.
The building is large by shrine standards, with decorations expressing the cheerful, elegant and graceful style of the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the late 16th century. These include konpukurin (gold-edged hanging features) with kegyo roof plaques, tarukibana (metal decorations covering the points of the wooden eaves), and kaerumata (split-bottom beams) attached to the pent roof of the shrine.
The main shrine building is designated as an Important Cultural Asset.
Now this inner area is quite packed. It’s where shops are located, it’s where cleansing areas are located, it’s where traditional live performances are displayed. There is so much to experience in this center section.
But you will see many people coming to pray, especially at the Okusha Hohaisho (which is the end of the senbon torii and when people are coming down from the mountain.
According to the Fushimi Inari website about the Okusha Hohaisho:
More commonly known as Okuno-in, the Okusha Hohaisho prayer building is located in the Myobu-dani valley to the east of the main shrine building, at the end of the Senbon Torii (Thousand Torii) gateways. People come here to pray to the holy mountain Inariyama, whose three peaks can be seen right behind the building.
The age of the building can be determined from a record called Senguki from 1499, but details such as the original size are not known. In the Edo period, it was called Fukosho and Kumotsujo, which means “offering place”. The building was destroyed by a natural disaster in 1794, and was rebuilt in a slightly larger size than the original one. Then in 1975, the shrine building was moved backward to its current location and a prayer area was built in front of it.
And you can see many people purchasing mini-torii gates or things to put their message or wishes and hang or tie them up.
But it’s hard to believe how massive this area is and we haven’t even gotten to the base of the mountain just yet.
So, now’s the time to walk up these stairs and prepare for the journey up the mountain for Senbon Torii, which I will post in part 3 of my coverage of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto.