Remember that scene in Memoirs of a Geisha when Sayuri ran through hundreds of vermillion torii gates to offer a prayer to the gods asking she be a part of The Chairman’s life?
That scene was shot in Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates. I’m a Memoirs of a Geisha nut—I’ve read the book a number of times, and when I finally saw the film adaptation of Arthur Golden’s masterpiece (which was a visual feast!), I knew that I had to make Kyoto a part of my travel bucket list. When we finally booked our flight to Japan last spring, the hopeless romantic in me couldn’t resist adding the Fushimi Inari Shrine to our itinerary.
The shrine is said to be the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.
Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues and ema (wishing plaques) across the shrine grounds.
After our 20-minute trek into the torii trail, we were drawn to a vendor selling takoyaki (octopus balls), which we had been craving since we arrived. The dish was a treat, but what was even more fascinating was that we got to see how takoyaki was prepared.