Exploring Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Shrine hike & secret bamboo forest

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.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Entrance

The Fushimi Inari Shrine entrance plaza.

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.

Fushimi Inari Hike Orange Gates

The farther you go, the fewer the crowds.

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.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Torii Gates Kyoto

It almost doesn’t look real.

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.

Secret bamboo forest Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto

A little self timer action.

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:

See more Kyoto and Tokyo highlights on my Instagram stories @seekingstephanietravels

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About Stephanie @ Seeking Stephanie Travel Blog

Travel gives me an extra skip in my step to push through the workweek. Exploring new places through outdoor spaces, food, animals and music are just a few of my favorite things.