I only have a few more of these highlights before I get into the real meat of our trip.  This week has understandably been busy catching up from our vacation and preparing for another over Thanksgiving.  I know you’re anxious for the full daily accounts, but I’m afraid I’ll have to tease you for just a short while longer…

When you visit Japan, unless you try explicitly not to, you’re bound to wind up at a few shrines.  Fortunately, that’s ok, as every one is unique in their own way.  If you really want to mix it up, try visiting them after dark.  Check to make sure they’re accessible after hours, but if they are, this can provide a great opportunity to beat a lot of the crowds at some of the more popular destinations.

Of all the most beautiful and recognized shrines in Japan, Fushimi Inari just south of Kyoto is probably the most iconic.  Honoring the god of rice, this remarkable shrine houses over 10,000 orange torii, each donated by a company or organization in hopes of good fortune.  As a photographer, I knew this one, in particular, topped my list.  With its long tunnels of these gates, it is certainly one of the most photographed.  Many images feature empty orange passageways, but I can say from experience, this is quite difficult to achieve – I’d imagine impossible – during peak hours.  The solution?  Nighttime!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Even when we visited around 8pm, there were plenty of people mingling about and wandering the path.  Fortunately, bends quickly obscured them, and gaps between visitors were larger farther up the hill.  As the entire length is illuminated with lamps at regular intervals, nighttime shooting of this shrine isn’t difficult.  Just don’t forget to bring a sturdy tripod with you for the best results.  And say hi to the fox sentinels keeping watch throughout.


3 thoughts on “A Taste of Japan: Nighttime Shrines

    • Honestly, I wish we had been able to get there *early* morning. I think that’s the best option for most shrines. With the darkness, we missed out on some of the views (though we also didn’t get to the top – we were exhausted! I bet city lights are beautiful up there as well). I really enjoyed the nighttime excursion, however, so that’s certainly an option. And it’s a more unique way to experience this very popular shrine.

      You can read about the full day here: https://lotsasmilesphoto.com/2016/01/05/japan-day-10-kyoto/

      Thanks for reading!


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