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Photo By: PIXTA/bee
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Saga
Population
876,664

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Hike to the peak of the most famous Inari shrine in Kyushu.

By Jake Yoder

Hidden in the city of Kashima in Saga Prefecture, Yutoku Inari Shrine is one of the top three Inari Shrines in Japan. With a history dating all the way back to 1687, the shrine sees over three million visitors each year.

Shrine Background

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ J6HQL Spot the fox statues on the way to the main shrine.

Yutoku Inari Shrine is one of many shrines in Japan dedicated to Inari Okami the Shinto god of prosperity and agriculture and is often represented as a fox. Thus, you will find a plethora of Inari fox statues at Yutoku Inari Shrine, along with a large number of red torii on the path to the shrine’s peak.

Located around one hour away from Saga City, Yutoku Inari Shrine is one of Saga’s top tourist destinations year-round. With pink plum and cherry blossoms in the spring, bright green forests dotted with purple morning glories in the summer, deep red maple leaves in the fall and snow-covered wintersweets in winter, there’s no bad time of year to pay the shrine a visit. These flowers can be seen throughout the shrine and are also on display at a small Japanese garden located near the entrance.

Climbing to the Peak

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ kattyan Climb to the top.

Yutoku Inari Shrine has multiple places to pray and worship. The largest and most notable is the gohoden (main shrine), which is about 18 meters above the ground.

The climb to the main shrine might be easy (there are elevators), but those looking for more of a challenge might want to climb to the okunoin (inner sanctuary) at the peak of the shrine. While the hike isn’t as intense as the hike at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, it is a particularly steep 300 meters, so it is recommended to bring some water with you in hotter months and wear athletic or hiking shoes if you intend to make the climb.

Yearly Events

Yutoku Inari Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/elsol727 Catch one of the many annual events that happen at the shrine.

Yutoku Inari Shrine holds a variety of events and festivals every month of the year. Visitors may want to check out the Hatsu-uma Festival in February, a festival commemorating the enshrinement of Inari Okami, witness the rice planting dance at the Rice Planting Festival in June, or feel the heat of a massive bonfire at the Shuki Taisai Festival in December.

Additionally, those looking to know a bit more about the history of Yutoku Inari Shrine can visit the small Yutoku museum located across the river from the shrine. The museum holds a number of artifacts and other precious objects from Yutoku Inari Shrine and Kashima’s history.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

Yutoku Inari Shrine welcomes visitors 24 hours a day, but it is only staffed from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Those wishing to avoid large crowds during festival days may wish to attend early in the morning or after dark. The shrine is free to attend.

The shrine museum is open daily from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Admission is ¥300 for adults, ¥200 for students and ¥100 for children.

How To Get There

Address

By train

From Fukuoka, take an express train from Hakata Station for about an hour to Hizen-Kashima station. From Saga, take the JR Nagasaki Line from Saga station to Hizen-Kashima station.
From there, take a 10-minute taxi ride to Yutoku Inari Shrine.

By bus

From Saga station, take the Yutoku bus for about one hour directly to Yutoku Inari Shrine.

By car

Yutoku Inari Shrine is about a one-hour drive from Saga City. Parking is free outside of the shrine.


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