A Kyoto hillside covered in donations

Mar 31, 2022

In Kyoto, thousands of red Torii gates cover the hillside of Fushimi Inari, Japan’s main shrine to the Shinto god of rice, sake and business.

The gates symbolise a transition – from the mundane to the sacred. 

But they are also a 1,300-year-old monument to fundraising.

Every gate represents one donation. The name of each donor and the date of the donation is inscribed in black ink.

Thousands of gates cover the hillside. Some stand alone; others stand in small groups. 

Some famously frame spectacular views; others sit modestly in quiet leafy hollows.

Senbon Torii (front cover) is the highlight of Fushimi Inari. Thousands of donated gates have been carefully placed together. They define a clear pathway through which millions of people have walked and wondered.

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