“Ghost photo” shows Kyoto’s breathtaking Fushimi Inari Shrine can be bone-chilling at night

And that flash of light isn’t even the scariest part of the snapshot.

In the span of a few years, Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine has gone from being relatively unknown to foreign travelers to being one of their favorite destinations in Japan. And its popularity is well-deserved, as wandering through the hillside tunnels of thousands of Shinto torii gates makes for a beautiful, unforgettable experience, especially if the late afternoon sunlight is filtering through the gaps in the torii.

However, Fushimi Inari can feel a little less inviting once the sun goes down. Just like many Western horror tales are set in or around secluded churches, Japan has a long tradition of ghost stories that take place at rural shrines. The higher you climb along Fushimi Inari’s pathways, the farther you get from the light of the city, which can make it feel like the world of the living is also growing distant, which brings us to a creepy snapshot taken by Japanese Twitter user @mcoscam.

“I was taking photos at Fushimi Inari Shrine at night, and I ended up with this freaky one…So scared I’m about to cry…”

“What happened?” asked a shocked commenter, to which @mcoscam replied “That’s what I want to know!”

Following the ghostly streak of light its farthest point from the lens, it seems to stop at a hanging lantern, or perhaps the brightest part of the reflection of the camera’s flash. Somehow this light source then got smeared in an undulating arc when the image was captured. That’s got to be what’s going on, right? After all, ghosts aren’t real…

…is what we keep trying to convince ourselves as we look at this subtly startling portion of @mcoscam’s photo, which escaped our notice until another Twitter user shared a zoomed-in version.

Once again, though, this looks to be a trick of the light, though one with a connection to local religious customs. See, each of the torii at Fushimi Inari is paid for by a donor, often a business looking to curry favor with Inari, the Shinto god of commerce. Torii are added as donations are made, which means that adjacent gates may actually have been installed several years apart from each other, and so their paint, metal fittings, and other components will be in different states of weathering and/or disrepair. As a result, the surfaces of the torii tunnels don’t reflect light uniformly, which can cause irregular shapes like the “silhouette” seen in the photos above.

So as spooky as @mcoscam’s photo may be, this probably isn’t concrete proof that the shrine is haunted. As a matter of fact, some of @mcoscam’s other photos from that night show that Fushimi Inari has a unique beauty after dark, which we also saw when we took a look at its midsummer Motomiya Festival.

Still, if you decide to plan your trip to Fushimi Inari for early enough in the day so that you’ll be done before sundown, we won’t blame you.

Source: Twitter/@mcoscam via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@mcoscam
Top, insert images ©SoraNews24

Jaw-dropping 360° VR Japan tourism promo vid whisks you to a land where tradition meets future

Swish that camera around and take a virtual tour of famous sightseeing spots as if you were there, all in the comfort of your own home.

The European division of Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) brought us one of the most gorgeous tourism promotional videos ever, and boy did it not disappoint with its fast-paced yet smooth cinematography.

In the second installation of their popular video series, the organisation has teamed up with Enjin Tokyo Inc. once again to bring us yet another extraordinary perspective of Japan.

Viewers get to travel through the beautiful gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha, the magnificent Sagano Bamboo Forest Road and even end up in a wacky monster cafe in Harajuku. What’s more, viewers can pan the camera around to see everything around them!

▼ We recommend experiencing this cool virtual tour at 1440s quality or better.

360-degree video technology is by no means new, but it has not seen much usage in tourism videos, where it could arguably reap the most benefits.

▼ Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting tourism videos of Japan to date.

One notable segment of the video puts viewers in the seat of a rickshaw and lets them look around just as they would in real life.

▼ It also gives us less reason to pay money for the rides.

▼ It’s strangely exhilarating to be picked up like a plush toy in a crane game.

▼ Ride the sushi conveyor belt like you mean it.

Japan’s blend of traditional and modern cultures makes it one of the most unique travel destinations in the world, and it’s thanks to JNTO that we get to witness this wonderful fusion of new and old in the comfort of our homes.

The individual prefectures in Japan also spare no effort in making their own promotional videos, some of which can get really impressive with towering monsters.

Source: VisitJapan via Japaaaan
Top image: YouTube/visitjapan