• Visit one of Osaka’s most revered Shinto shrines
• Hike up forested mountain pathways
• Lose yourself among thousands of vermillion Shinto gates
If you have time for only one shrine—and don’t mind a little exercise with your sightseeing—make it Fushimi Inari Taisha, a mountainside Shinto sanctuary famous for its thousands of magnificent torii (ornamental gates). Within striking distance of Osaka, this ancient shrine was dedicated in the 8th century to Inari, the god of rice, sake, and prosperity. (Business travelers take note: Inari is also associated with success in one’s endeavors.) Although this is one of the most revered shrines in Japan, many visitors are here to see the thousands of vermilion torii that straddle the paths snaking up the mountain. The most striking—and Instagrammable—spot is the Senbon Torii, two parallel rows of gates that mark the beginning of the trail. From here it takes 30 to 45 minutes to hike up to the halfway point, the area densest with torii. Those with more time can continue to the summit, to be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view. Plan on two or three hours for the full round-trip hike, depending on the crowds and the number of stops you make to explore miniature shrines along the way.
From the Conrad Osaka, a taxi ride to Fushimi Inari Taisha will take about an hour, depending on traffic. For the train, walk north to Osaka Station and take the JR Line to Kyoto Station (about 30 minutes), then change to the JR Nara Line to Inari Station (five minutes).