A popular tourist spot in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas you’ll find in Japan. Composed with thousands of shrines, this popular location attracts visitors and photographers for it’s illusional, maze-like effect the shrines create when walking through it’s path.
However, you may find it difficult to enjoy the calmness or capture a good photo if you’re constantly fighting the way through tons of tourists. Save your sanity and photography by making the effort to try these four tips to achieve an excellent photo at Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Arrive Early In The Morning
Fushimi Inari Shrine is an extremely popular spot for tourists in Kyoto. To capture a photo without any persons in your way, arrive at the shrine around 6:00-6:30 AM. Check for when the sun rises that day and it’s best to plan to leave your hotel or accommodation 40 minutes prior if you’re taking the train, and 30 minutes prior if you’re taking a taxi.
Once you arrive, you’ll enter first through the site’s temple. Follow the signs uphill to the shrine where you’ll (hopefully) have the entire place to yourself. *Just remember: You’ve arrived early to have the entire shrine alone, or almost alone.
Photos shouldn’t take up your entire experience. Let go of the camera and listen to the calmness of the shrine in the morning and remember that a photo can never capture the moment your in. Don’t take your time at the shrine for granted.
Captured INSIDE of shrine.
Captured OUTSIDE of shrine.
Take Your Photos Inside The Shrine
The sun is still rising by the time you’ve arrived at the shrine, if you plan to arrive before the crowds. An easy tip to capture the beauty of Fushimi Inari Shrine is to take a few steps inside of the shrine before capturing your photo.
I’m not a professional photographer, so please correct me if my vocabulary is incorrect, but by standing inside of the shrine to take your shot as opposed to standing outside helps eliminate any uneven lighting in your photo. The contrast is more balanced, lighting more even, and colors of the shrine are more vibrant.
Take Photos From The Exit
When you arrive at the shrine, you’re greeted with two paths. A sign indicates that one is for entering and the other for exiting. You may spend some time capturing photos at the entrance as you think that this is your best bet to capture the perfect tourist-free photo. Like myself, you are very wrong. The entrance is stunning, yes, but it is much more beautiful on the other side of the exit to capture the shrines.
Walk through the entrance way and when you get to the end of the shrine and are faced with two paths again, take some photos of the exit path heading in the direction which you came from. The reason why I prefer this angle so much more than the angle of the entrance way is the facing alignment of the shrines. From the entrance way, you actually see the shrines from the back.
From the exit way, you see the shrines from the front, exposing all of the beautiful writings and blessings on each shrine to be captured beautifully in a photo. Some may prefer the entrance and would like a cleaner shot. However, I prefer every detail of Fushimi Inari Shrine, as the messages written on each shrine is dedicated to the history and significance of the person is is meant for.
I know everyone is different, so you’re welcomed to choose which shot you prefer.
Continue Hiking For Additional Photos
You have the entire shrine to yourself, you’ve spent a nice chunk of time capturing photos from all angles, now it’s time to leave before the tourists arrive? No, I don’t think so. A lot of people assume that Fushimi Inari Shrine is just that one double-strip of walkway.
However, the shrine is actually composed of thousands of shrines placed eloquently along the mountain in which many locals and tourists can hike through.
The entire hike back-and-forth takes about 2-3 hours. I’m not suggesting that you go the entire way, I’m simply adding that if you believe that the only snippet of photography you can achieve is the intro to a very beautiful path of shrines, think again my friend.
Take a 5-10 minute stroll along the longer path of shrines to enjoy the moment of peace in the morning and take a few more captures. If you get tired or would like to move on at any moment, please do so and turn back around! You’ll be glad you went and disappointed if you don’t.
What To Know For Visiting Japan and Kyoto
Citizens of many countries can get a free 90 day entry to visit Japan for tourism.
Be sure to check the official Japanese Immigration Website for the latest information for your specific country.
The currency used in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 USD to 108 JPY. You can check the latest EUR exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, our number one tip is to use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which gives unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds and the true exchange rate.
Best Tours In Kyoto
Some of the best tours and things to do in Kyoto are:
- Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple
- 3.5-Hour Small Group Cultural Walking Tour
- Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour
- From Kyoto: Full-Day UNESCO and Historical Sites Tour
Book Your Stay In Kyoto
- The Hotel Kiyomizu Gion is located a short distance from attractions such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple in central Kyoto. This hotel is a great choice for travelers interested in old-town exploration, ancient landmarks and architecture.
- Find the best price on hotels in Kyoto
- Sign up to Air BNB with this link and receive a US $35 off your first booking!
Best Books About Japan
Read more about Japan before you go! Some of the best books about Japan are:
What Power Adapters Do You Need
Japan uses standard Type A and Type B adapters also commonly used in the USA. However, keep in mind that the voltage is different so be careful with your electronics and bring a voltage converter if necessary.
You can buy a universal adapter that will work in any country and has extra ports for USB cables to charge your phone and other devices.
We also always travel with a portable battery pack which is great to keep your phone charged on long journeys.
Transportation In Japan
- Public Transportation: Japan has extensive public transportation by both bus and train. The high speed trains are particularly good.
- Rental Cars: If you want flexibility, we recommend renting a car at the airport. This provides the easiest way to see certain landmarks, though parking in Tokyo can be expensive.
- Uber: Uber is sometimes available in Japan, though it depends on the area (mostly in Tokyo and Kyoto). However, the rules are constantly changing about Uber in Japan due to the strict permits that are required for drivers to offer rides. Metered taxis are readily available. You can use the popular JapanTaxiApp instead of Uber.
Our top recommended travel insurance companies for Japan are:
- World Nomads: Comprehensive coverage for medical, travel delays, and electronics.
- SafetyWing: Cheaper monthly coverage primarily for medical, starting at $37 for 4 weeks of coverage.
For more information, read our article on why you need to book travel insurance for your next trip!
More Articles About Japan
- The Perfect 7 Day Japan Itinerary
- The Top 10 Things To Do In Tokyo
- How To Plan A Trip To Tokyo Disney In 5 Easy Steps
- Naoshima, Japan Will Surprise You
- Why You Should Consider Japan For A Solo Female Trip
- 8 Things To Do In Japan Totally Worth The Hype
- 8 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In Tokyo, Japan
- Why Every Traveller Should Experience A Traditional Japanese Ryokan
- Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting A Japanese Onsen
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine. If you have any questions about Japan or advice for our readers please leave these in the comments below.
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We Are Travel Girls Contributor Pamela Sendee of PamelaSendee.com
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Well, I wish I had seen this post BEFORE I went. Very useful.
We Are Travel Girls says
Ha ha thank you! Glad you liked this post – hope you had a great time at the shrine. Becky x