Our Off the Beaten Path Guide

The usual route to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine and the crowds that go with it are what we tried to avoid when we planned this off the beaten path thru-hike which allowed us to see all the same sights with a little bit more privacy.

The start of this thru-hike begins near Tofukuji Station and ends at Inari Station. Both stations connect to the main Kyoto Station via the JR Nara Line with regular service. (JR Rail Pass Accessible)
Tofukuji Station is the first stop on the JR Nara Line when departing from Kyoto Station. Train Information via Google Maps

  1. Urban Hike to the Trailhead.

    From Tofukuji Station, it is a short walk through the town past various temples, schools, and shrines before you head off into the forest.

    Google Maps Walking Map – Tofukuji Station to Trail Head and #2 on the map below.

    Note the grade between #4 & #6. This is a very steep section of stairs and Tori Gates. The Thru-Hike route from Tofukuji to Inari is a much gentler climb to the top of Mt. Inari.

  2. Follow the loop to see a collection of Tori Gates

    This loop is where we encounter people on the trail for the first time. There are many Tori Gates but as we saw later these initial ones were smaller and more spaced out.

  3. Summit Mt. Inari

    This is the turnaround location for many people doing an out and back hike from Inari Station. Some of the main benefits of our thru-hike was avoiding them and not having to see the same things twice.

  4. Join the Crowds

    This was towards the end of the hike but it seemed the farther we descended the more crowded it became.

  5. Extend the Hike

    There is a side option during the descent to head towards a lake. It looked to be a less crowded path so we took it. However, the lake was unimpressive and this is the only photo we took.

  6. Finish at the Fushimi Inari Shrine

    The Inari Station is very close to the Fushimi Shrine and so capturing the exclusive Instagram travel photo is nearly impossible without impeccable timing.

Additional Reference Photos

We were surprised to see a Tori Gate and a Bamboo Grove together as made our way from the town and onto the main trail. At this early stage of the hike, we were utterly alone and got to enjoy it privately. At the start of the wooded trail, there are several alternative paths. The one we took is marked on the reference map above.

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