Kyoto: 5 Tips to taking the best portraits at Fushimi Inari (with the crowd)

I know there are already travel guides out there sharing on how to take incredible photos at Fushimi Inari. And they all will either tell you to beat the crowd by going there early in the morning, or to stay on after dark.

However, I like to enjoy my holidays, and I cannot be bothered about heading there first thing after I woke up. I rather have my coffee and a nice breakfast first thing in the morning. If you are like me, let me share with you some of tips on how to still take amazing portraits, with the crowd.

Before you continue on, you want to check out my Ultimate guide to what to do, see, and eat in Kyoto !

1. Don’t get distracted in the beginning

fushimi inari map kyoto japan
Fushimi Inari map

As you can see from the map above, from the Main shrine, you’ll first come to the first section of torii (gates). This section is where most people gets very excited and stop to take photos.

Everyone is stopping to take photos

So, you want to control your star celebrity instincts, and press on until you reach the second section of torii. The second section consists of two rows, and there are both one directional for crowd control purposes. The right on is for ascent, while the left is for descent. The section is quite long, and again, I urge you to press on ahead of the crowd.

Towards the end of the second section, you’ll notice the crowd gets lesser. Don’t stop yet! Press on until you reach the end of the second section, turn around and Voila!

fushimi inari kyoto japan

Yes, there are also inscriptions on the back of the torii. And if you wait patiently for people to walk past, plus some intelligent positioning & blocking,

From here, you can either start your descent, or hike up further. We continued hiking up, but gave up half way to the summit. The return hike to the summit takes about 3 hours.

2. Occasionally, turn back and say “Cheese”

Sometimes, just turning back, you can get some pretty good shots. Your face easily pops out against everyone’s back.

3. Get closer


Taking close up with the torii is also really nice.

4. Play Peekaboo

And when you are done taking close up with the torii, play peekaboo.

(I know mine is not the best) But, you can potentially stitch them together and make a pretty cool photo.

5. Step out

Lastly, step out of the torii(s) to get these views.

fushimi inari kyoto japan

fushimi inari kyoto japan

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