Out of all the things I researched to do in Kyoto, Japan, I was most excited about hiking the Fushimi Inari Shrine path. It’s no ordinary hike: stairs, lined with thousands of striking orange Torii gates, wind up to the top of Mount Inari. It’s popular for good reason, so get there early.
The hike is about a 3-mile loop and takes anywhere between 90 minutes and 3 hours depending on your level of fitness and interest in stopping at the mini-shrines and shops that are along the way. There are a couple lookout points, which I found to be anti-climactic, but it was an overcast day.
I had to take a couple breathers throughout the hike, but overall it really wasn’t that hard since the stairs take off the edge. The orange gates are beautiful, and the farther you go, the fewer the crowds. It lived up to my expectations and is a must-see if you’re in Kyoto.
Thanks to the magic of the internet, I knew there is a “secret” bamboo forest on the shrine grounds. So, post-hike, we set out to find it. Now, don’t expect for it to be like the Arashiyama bamboo forest. But, do expect a small, peaceful grove that you will probably have to yourself.
To find the bamboo grove, head to the start of the Fushimi Inari Shrine hike — where the orange gates begin. Don’t actually get on the hike path, but walk on the dirt to the right of the orange gates. You’ll pass a bathroom building and within 5-7 minutes, should find the start of the grove. It took us a couple of tries to find it, but we never truly felt lost.
Have you hiked the Fushimi Inari Shrine path or stumbled across the secret bamboo forest? Would love to hear your experience in the comments.
Other Japan posts:
- Bamboo forest, beautiful gardens, and monkeys in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan
- Exploring Tokyo’s neighborhoods: Fukagawa
See more Kyoto and Tokyo highlights on my Instagram stories @seekingstephanietravels