Somewhere off the beaten path… well off the beaten path… lie the remains of a dilapidated Inari shrine that’s nestled within the hills near the base in Yokosuka. This hidden gem is known as Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine and is located about as far off the beaten path as one can wander. In fact, the shrine is so secluded that it doesn’t even have a specific address! While I honestly don’t expect any traveler to Japan to actually consider visiting, the shrine has long since been on my to-do list ever since seeing this RocketNews24 article in 2016. So, indulge me a bit here!
From what I can gather, this shrine was originally constructed sometime during the early years of the Showa period (1926–1989). Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine is located in the middle of an extremely quiet little neighborhood and still used by the locals today despite its shambled appearance. Much like with the parent shrine in Kyoto, Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine sports numerous vermilion torii gates and is dedicated to the same deity. Other than this however, this is little background information available for this secluded shrine.
How to Get There
As remote as this shrine’s location sounds, the journey is not really that difficult. All you’ll need to do is take the JR Yokosuka Line to Taura Station. That said, be sure the train you’re hopping on does not stop at Zushi Station and goes all the way to Kurihama Station. As always, consult with Jorudan or a similar service before departing for best transit times.
Once you have arrived at Taura Station the real fun begins. Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine is located a good 20 minutes walk from Taura Station. This residential area is not home to any convenience stores or the like so you’d be wise to grab a bottle of water before setting out. As with almost anything worth visiting in Japan, this shrine will involve a good deal of stairs.
To find the shrine, you will need to closely follow Google maps. Use this link to navigate your way to the shrine. Keep your eyes peeled for the white flags and narrow crossing above. The shrine is located just beyond the bridge but it can be easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for. A large red torii gate will mark the entrance to the shrine’s ascent.
Climbing Up to the Shrine
If you haven’t gathered as much already, you’re going to need to climb flight after flight of stairs to reach the shrine. Hopefully you came dressed appropriately! Expect to sweat, especially if it’s during the summer season. I think the journey up the mountain on which Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine is located took me a good ten minutes or so. Did I mention that there would be stairs?
After what will seem like an eternity, you are going to come across a fork in the dirt road. Bear right here and follow the path as it winds around a farmer’s field. As I alluded to, this is a very remote shrine and you’re going to want to be respectful of the local residents so try to keep your voices down. That said, be prepared for some inquisitive glances especially if you are not Japanese. This isn’t exactly a place frequented by many foreign tourists!
Getting Spirited Away
Continue to follow the path past the farmer’s fields and you’ll soon come to the first of the torii gates as pictured above. After taking a quick breather and wiping the sweat that no doubt floods your brow, congratulate yourself on managing to find this remote hidden gem. You really cannot get much more off the beaten path than this!
Japan has countless shrines dedicated to the god Inari however few spots sport such untamed beauty as this. I couldn’t help but feel that I was about to be whisked away to the spirit realm while passing through the torii gates of Fushimi Hakuseki Inari Shrine. Over the years, I’ve visited many Shinto shrines yet I have never been as overwhelmed by a sense of eeriness as here.
Other than examine the shrine there is not much to “do here” per-say. I encourage you to take your time and appreciate strolling deliberately through the derelict shrine structures. That said, be sure to go all the way to the end of the torii gate path and pay your respect to Inari. You don’t want to anger the god end up like Chihiro in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away after all right?
Until next time travelers…