The Kyoto Torii tunnel, Japan

There are few other places in Japan as mesmerizing as the torii gate trail that stretches up into the cedar forest behind the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Thousands upon thousands of these brightly colored torii gates create a stunning vermilion tunnel that leads any visitor through miles of its looping maze, as it might never end.

The trail is made up of over 10,000 torii gates, each of which are purchased for mind-boggling amounts of money by businesses or families to ensure luck and success. The back of each gate is meticulously carved with the businesses name and location guaranteeing its wealth for years to come. This tradition has become so popular that the trail has come to stretch for over 4 km with these gates. Considering that the larger ones cost thousands of dollars the amounted cost of this trail must be staggering. At least the money that the shrine collects from building the torii gates guarantees that the temple and the path are kept in pristine condition.

It truly is a place unlike anywhere else, completely and breathtakingly unique, and a trip to Kyoto wouldn’t be complete without a visit. And surprisingly enough, it seems to be off of the beaten track that the busloads of tourists follow when visiting Kyoto.