Japan Environmental Exchange

JEE Earth Day Hike, April 26th, climbing Mt Inari (236m)

Yuri Egashira

Inari-yama, at the south end of Kyoto's "Higashiyama Thirty-six Peaks," is the site of Japan's head Inari shrine. It's also known as Kyoto's top sightseeing attraction among foreign visitors. Passing through the main shrine precinct, we headed for the Sembon-torii, the famous thousand red Shinto gates. It was so crowded that instead of sightseeing I was just trying to keep contact with the JEE hike members. Two people missed the turn-off, but we could get in contact and meet up again on the less crowded bamboo side-path that was our route past many Shinto purification "waterfalls" where we heard ascetic chanting (and uguisu, Japanese bush warblers) on our way up into the forest to the O-iwa shrine. From there we climbed to the top of the mountain. After lunch we crossed over to the Inari-yama circuit, visiting Ichi-no-mine to San-no-mine. At Yon-no-tsuji, we finally met up again with two more members, and then hiked all together to Tofukuji Temple. The Shinto fox-gods of Mt Inari watched over us all. One of the group was a haiku writer, so some members wrote these haiku in English to commemorate the hike:


A bowl of green tea
in the green
washes away my body and soul
--Hiromi Kato

Blue blue sky,
green green leaves--
uguisu says "It's Spring!"
--Ken Rodgers

*Mr. High Moon had organized the Earth Day Hike from 2002 through 2014, for 13 years. We'd like to convey our appreciation to him, thank you so much for a long time!