Kyoto #23: 伏見稲荷大社【Fushimi Inari Taisha】Part1

Today’s topic is

Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto.

I’ve been waiting for today I introduce Fushimi Inari Taisha!!! I guess everyone who comes to Kyoto know about here and plan to go here lol

If you don’t know here well, please read this and I hope you’ll be interested in here and even Kyoto! And also I’m really pleasured that this blog will be your best travel companion!!

Fushimi Inari Taisha has been ranked number one in TripAdvisor’s ranking five years in a row.

So Topic about Fushimi Inari Taisha consists of some posts. This one is just the introduction of history and easy Q&A!! Please also check the next one! I hope you’re gonna enjoy it as much as I did here.



伏見稲荷大社【Fushimi Inari Taisha】

The Inari Shrine was begun in 711 when 稲荷【Inari】manifested herself on the peak of Mount Inari.
She is the goddess of rice and food, the rural deity growth.

Then Fushimi Inari Taisha was built in 816. The origin of Fushimi Inari Shrine is not clear, but It’s said that it’s the beginning of fact that 秦氏【Hata-Shi】started to worship the spirits in the hopes of 五穀豊穣【bountiful harvest】. The shrine serves as the protector for business and merchants as well as for rice, sake’, farmers and their crops.

Most important is the Fushimi Inari Taisha which marks the descent of Shinto goddess Inari to a mountain top where she is honored by thousands of vermilion torii which climb the sides of the mountain named for this deity, thereby creating a spectacular tunnel of colorful Shinto gates.

In Japan, お稲荷さん【Oinari-san】which is the casual name of it is one of the most familiar and popular shrines for Japanese. In addition, it is said that there are 30,000 companies across the country, and people around the country are familiar with all ages and sex. Then Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine.

Byakko: White Fox Statue

When you visit first, you can see lots of white fox statues around there

Friend Takeru
What’s the relationship between  Fushimi Inari Shrine and white fox statues?
You would think and ask me so.
A fox is considered to be an angel of God of 稲荷【Inari】
Friend Takeru
That makes sense!! But why they are white??
Actually, it’s said that they are not visible to us.
So that’s why they look like white and are called 白狐【Byakko】
Long story short, the fox is considered the sacred and symbolic animal of deities of  Inari Shrines in general.
When you see the statues of Fox, you find out that they hold something like rice stalk in their mouth. The key of images stands for the wish of us, as I said, bountiful harvest, like that. Aside from rice stalk, they hold the key and balls in their mouth.

The fox statue on the left as you face it: 鍵【Key】 The key that the Fox has in his mouth is the key to open the warehouse. This is the key to the warehouse that stores “rice”.
The fox statue on the right as you face it: 宝玉【Jewel (Ball)】. Jewel (Ball) means “treasure”. Speaking of treasures, it also means a warehouse that stores them. It is based on the origin of 玉鍵信仰【Jewel-Key Faith】which means the ball and key indicate the sun and the shade, the heaven and the earth and then, by these two functions, they express the reason to generate and nurture.

And Fushimi Inari Taisha is known for many vermilion torii gates. 千本鳥居【Senbon torii】 is a symbol of Fushimi Inari Taisha. Senbon torii means 1,000 torii but the name “Senbon torii” doesn’t mean that there are 1,000 torii gates, just means that there are a lot.
Actually, there are about 10,000 torii gates on the grounds of the shrine and they seem like vermilion tunnels. To tell the truth, these torii gates were all offered by worshipers at the shrine. So that’s why you can see lots of Japanese words on torii gates.
Friend Takeru
Why is お稲荷さん【Inari-san】 full of vermilion torii?
Because the Inari Taisha is easy to fulfill hopes, a lot of wishes are “passed” and “through” the torii gate, and the torii gate is torn a lot.
Friend Takeru
Why are they vermilion??
Vermilion has served as a symbol of peace and good harvests through the centuries.
I still have lots of things about Fushimi Inari Taisha, so I’ll tell you more specific information on next post!!! I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I did!!

Today's topic is Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Contents Part1: Introduction & interesting Q&A […]

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※ informative reference(Book)
Title: Kyoto 29 walks in Japan’s ancient captal
Pulisher: John H. MARTIN and PHYLLIS G. MARTIN
Company:Tuttle Publishing; Vinyl Bound Paperback版