I am Jacob Laukaitis, a 21 year old digital nomad, who’s already been to more than 30 countries in the last 2 years. I love making videos of places I visit so here’s one from my last trip to the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan.
The shrine predates the year 794 when the capital of Japan was moved to Kyoto. This shrine sprawls entirely around the mountain featuring hundreds of small shrines, thousands of sculptures and more than 10,000 Torii gates.
Every single one of these gates has been donated by an individual, an organization or a company from anywhere around the world. Their names are inscribed on the gates in Japanese characters. The price to ‘sponsor’/add a gate starts from 400,000 yen and reaches one million yen and even more!
In order to reach the shrine you need to trek up-hill for quite some time until you reach the wooden forest of the sacred Mount Inari which stands at 233 meters above sea level. Many people do not trek all the way to the top, because even though it’s not a very tough physical challenge, it’s still quite a distance, especially for the elderly and children.
If however, you decide to climb all the way to the top don‘t be surprised to find many people at the start of the climb. As you begin walking, there are often too many people for it to be enjoyable, but the higher you go, the more relaxing and interesting it gets (and the crowds thin out).
Because the shrine has been here for ages it seems like a natural part of the mountain and surroundings – certainly much more than the shopping malls, hotels or train stations of Kyoto. Visually it feels a part of the natural world – as much a part of the mountain as the trees and bushes that grow here.
One odd thing I noticed while on my way up was that there were absolutely no garbage bins anywhere on the mountain, so I had to keep everything in my backpack.
Normally I would have no problem with this but the green tea flavored coffee that I had bought at the vending machine spilled in my backpack and I spent 15 minutes running around trying to find some napkins to clean it up.
But that was just a minor inconvenience; this and the exertion to reach the top was all highly worth the effort!