From the ‘Kyoto Trail’ (Higashiyama point 4) tree lined stone steps lead down. At the bottom of the steps is ‘Kyoto Trail Higashiyama point 5’. At the trail marker/direction post is a small bridge on the left. Taking a detour off of the track from here and by a narrow stream an overgrown path of sorts comes to the forgotten Fushikura-Daijin Shrine. The path can be a little treacherous and it should be noted also that boar and monkeys have been seen in this area, especially at night.
If you do come across any of the local wildlife, attempting to interact is not advised!
Fushikura-Daijin is a small shrine, there are no halls and it only takes a few minutes to walk around. But, most probably due to its abandonment, it seems to hold a sense of mystery that leads a visitor to this almost hidden corner to stay awhile and take in the surroundings. Moss grows over some of the stonework, a waterfall gives a pleasant, almost tranquil atmosphere. Some people say that it has a dark feeling whereas others say they feel peace.
There is very little information available about this shrine and as to why it is in this current state, but it is said that the water of the stream is called ‘Gods Water’ though how this name came about is unknown. A number of Inari Kami can be found at Fushikura-Daijin, could there be a connection to Fushimi Inari Taisha that is not too far away to the south? The Inari fox god represents fertility, rice, tea and sake, agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and is one of the principal kami of Shinto.
Although there is no information to confirm one way or another, it could be thought that the waterfall in the shrine may well have been used in the past for the Shinto purification practice of Misogi. The fact that the water has been called God’s Water may lend some weight to this idea. The place also has some other curious almost ominous parts to the shrine.
Shinto stone lanterns stand by the entrance to a dark tunnel. We’ll leave it to the visitor to decide whether to venture inside and discover what lies hidden in the darkness beyond the entrance.
To the right of the lanterns and the dark entrance are steps that lead up and around the shrine. There are a number of small shrines, torii gates of both wood and stone, some small ones with recent dates, which implies that worshipers do still come to the shrine. There are also signs of fallen tree branch clearance and some debris tidying so it isn’t altogether a shrine that has been totally abandoned.
It is though, a shrine that is not maintained fully and to most is a forgotten, almost hidden corner of Kyoto!