Ukiha Inari Shrine
Retreat from the urban hustle and bustle of Fukuoka City by taking a trip to the “Kingdom of Fruits,” where you’ll find an inari shrine (Shinto shrine dedicated to the god Inari) with nearly one hundred torii gates standing solemnly on a mountain.
About an hour away from the central area of Hakata lies the peaceful town of Ukiha in southeastern Fukuoka. A fruit lovers dream, Ukiha produces tons of varieties of grapes, peaches, persimmon, and it’s an instant hit for those looking to do some strawberry picking (in the winter months). But while here, it’s hard not to gaze at a long red snake winding along the Mino Mountain range.
But instead of a snake, you’re catching a glimpse of 90 bright-red torii gates lining the approach to Ukiha Inari Shrine, located 130 meters above ground. As you ascend the 300 steps to the shrine, which is dedicated to the gods of prosperous businesses, abundant crops, brewing, longevity and scholarship, you’ll feel the good luck sinking in. (Alternatively, you can drive and park near the shrine, if the walk seems a bit much.)
Once you get there, remember to turn around and get your reward — a stunning panoramic view of the Chikugo mountainous terrain and the town, with plenty of rice paddies sitting between houses. If the sky is clear, you can even spot Harazuru Hot Springs, which are located in Amagi city.
The long chain of red torii gates at Ukiha Inari Shrine will probably remind many of the famous Fushimi-Inari Shrine in Kyoto, but the former gives off a much more modest, serene atmosphere with little-to-no tourist traffic. If you happen to be there in spring, know that Ukiha Inari is a locals’ favorite spot to see cherry blossoms.
In the area
Ukiha City is most famous for its fruits and at Yamandon fruit farm, you can pick fruits all year-round: strawberries from January to May, grapes from August to September, pears from August to November, and persimmons from November to December.
Head over to Yoshii town along Bungo Kaido Road to capture nostalgic views of old white-walled houses built by wealthy merchants during Edo Period. These houses are now antique and souvenir shops. Also not to be missed is a stop by the Tsuzura Rice Terrace (Map), a graceful and scenic collection of rice paddies.
Enjoy your time to the fullest in this tiny town filled with wonder while in Kyushu.