On our first full day in Kyoto, we went to the Inari Shrine. We had some trouble getting there as I was confused about the train/subway lines in Kyoto (do not trust Google Maps for train travel in this city! Use Hyperdia.) It’s said that the buses are very useful for tourists, but Mycah and I love trains too much that we used them instead.
Inari is the fox god of rice. If you ever wondered why Inari sushi is called Inari, it’s the combination of rice and abura-age (the fried tofu, which foxes love in folklore). This goes along with the name of kitsune udon/soba, with kitsune meaning “fox”.
This shrine is known for it’s lined up gates that create long winding paths up a mountain. We weren’t able to go the full way (3-4 hour hike uphill, we were pretty tired physically at this point in the trip), but we made it to the viewpoint of Kyoto city below.
Went to Fushimi Inari after classes today. It was really pretty but we only got to climb it like halfway ‘cause it got dark. I wanna go back sometime soon and buy a little stuffed fox and a cellphone strap. There are fox statues all over the grounds and there’s over a thousand torii. They showed it in a scene in Memoirs of a Geisha. The place is ginormous. I really need a whole day to explore the whole thing, but idk if I’ll get the chance. I definitely wanna try to get to the top before dark next time though.
The shrine is named for the goddess Inari, who has an affinity with foxes and whose favorite food is sweet fried tofu. She’s the name sake for foods like inarizushi and why they call kitsune udon kitsune udon.
I’m so jealous of anyone who has the ability to go to Fushimi Inari. I would give a limb just for an ofuda and a fox plush, maybe a torii souvenir, but mostly I just have an overwhelming need to physically go there, maybe do a circumambulation of the mountain. I hope I’m able to make it sometime soon (by which I mean in the next decade)
“Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on hemp, Nanbokuchô period (1336–92). Seated atop a white fox on a cloud held aloft by a pair of dragons is a young woman in fluttering, majestic raiment. She grasps a vajra sword in her right hand; in her left palm, she gently cradles a triad of sacred jewels.
The figure is a Japanese vision of Dakini, an ancient Hindu deity. According to Esoteric Buddhist texts, Dakini was originally a man-eating demoness transformed by the Buddha Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai) into a powerful, life-engendering divinity. This icon embodies powers of fecundity that were invoked in imperial enthronement rituals as well as in personal contexts, and it is a telling example of medieval Japan’s complex interaction of Buddhism, Shinto kami worship, and Daoist yin-yang practices. The procreative power of the deity readily led to her assimilation with the ancient Shinto fox deity Inari, and to associations with another Hindu deity, Saraswati, who is associated with all that flows, from water to music.” Words and image MET Museum (Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, in honor of Wen C. Fong, 2000). This 14th century painting reveals the strong influence that Chinese and Indian religion and art had on the Japanese at the time.
Ha, he looks like he’s drooling in the basin. Maybe dragon drool is purifying?
Bro got me a Fushimi Inari fox plushie from Japan!!~ :D
I WANT IT!
A beautiful shrine dedicated to the Shinto reinterpretation of the Hindu goddess, Saraswati. Benzaiten is the goddess/kami of music, water, speech and everything that flows.
Kitsune statue at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, Japan
A Bakezori is straw zori sandal which has been transformed into a tsukumogami, a yokai which was once a household item. It runs through the house and chants “kararin, kororin, kankororin!”. It is said that it comes to life in a household where footwear is improperly treated.
神宮大麻 (Jingu Taima)
The Jingu Taima, or simply Taima, is a specific type of ofuda issued by the Ise Grand Shrine. It is made from hemp cloth, with its use as a material seen as common from antiquity.
Stone fox statues in the grove behind the Sasuke Inari shrine, Kamakura, Japan. The shady and mossy grove with dozens of small shrines, many of them moss-covered and tilted, and probably thousands of fox statues, some broken, others relatively unscathed, made me feel infused with some animistic spirit.