- The short history of Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社の歴史
- Torii gates in Fusimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社の鳥居
- Fox in Fusimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社のキツネ
- Oyama meguri in Fushimi Inari Taisha お山めぐり
- In front of Oh-torii 大鳥居
- Okusya sanpai jyo 奥社参拝所
- The entrance of Mt. Inari 行くでしかし
- Mitsu tsuji crossing 三つ辻
- Rest room
- Shin ike and Kumataka sha 新池と熊鷹社
- Yotsu-tsuji crossing 四つ辻
- Ganriki sha and Gocen dani 眼力社と御膳谷参拝所
- Yakuriki sha 薬力社
- Mitsurigi sha Goshin seki 御劔社
- Ichi no mine Goshin seki 一ノ峰
- Nino mine Goshin seki ニノ峰
- Kada sha Goshin seki 荷田社
- Sanno mine Goshin seki 三ノ峯
- Yotsu tsuji crossing 四つ辻
- Kojin mine Goshen seki 荒神峰
- Mitsu tsuji crossing 三つ辻
- Araki shrine 荒木神社
- Sanba inari 産場稲荷
- About Fushimi Inari Taisha
- Access to Fushmi Inari Taisha
In this article, you can learn about Fushimi Inari Taisha ; Its history, Senbon Torii gates, foxes, and Oyama meguri-tour.
The short history of Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社の歴史
The early history of Fusimi Inari Taisha remains to be secret but Yamashiro no Kuni Fudoki, or The Report of Ancient Kyoto Province, the most reliable source compiled under the order from the emperor in the 6th century, tells the shrine was founded in 711 D.C..
The following is my translation :” Hata no Irogu of the Hata clan was very prosperous thanks to rice farming. One day, he shot an rice cake with an arrow. On the spot, the cake became a white bird and flew away to a mountain. Simultaneously, the mountain had a huge rice harvest. He was so impressed that he enshrined 3 Deities on 3 peaks in the mountain. That is the reason why we call it (the ancient Fushimi Inari Taisha.) “Inari”. (The word “Inari” means “Rice harvest” in Japanese.) The descendants of Irogu ashamed the deeds of their ancestor and pull a small tree out of the ground of the shirne and brought it back their home. ”
At the beginning, Fushimi Inari Taisha was a shrine respected by the Hata clan. I suppose these 3 Deities are “Inari no Ohkami”.
In the 8th century, under the fusion of the Shinto and the Buddhism, Kukai, the founder of the Shingon school, enshrined Inari no Ohkami as a Deity who saves Toji temple. The emperors often visited the shrine and Fusimi Inari Shrine became one of the most popular shrine as Yasaka shrine of that time (Today, Yasaka shrine is a Shinto shrine but was a Buddhist temple).
In the 15th century, Onin no ran, the largest civil war in the Japanese Medieval ages, occurred. It lasted for 10 years and Fushimi Inari Taisya was burnt out completely.
After the war was ended, Fushimi Inari Taisya was managed to gain donations, and retrieved its fortune. In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi donated the Romon gate we can still see there today.
In the Edo period, Inari no Ohkami became very popular among merchants and they started to donate Torii gates. They are the origin of Senbon Torii today.
Today, we regard Ukano mitana no Ohkami as the same Deity as Inari no Ohkami.
In the main hall of Fushimi Inari Taisha, Ukano mitama no Ohkami is enshrined.
Torii gates in Fusimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社の鳥居
The origin of Torii gate
Fushimi Inari Taisha is famous for Torii gates. So, let us learn about Torii gates first.
Torii is a gate which devides a sacred and a secular world. Usually, Shinto shrines has a torii at an entrance. We can not tell its origin exactly. Some source says it was built in front of shrine to let “Tokoyo no Naganaki-dori” stay on.
Tokoyo no Naganaki-dori is a rooster. In Japanese mythology, “Amaterasu Ohmikami”, the highest ranked Deity in the Shinto, hid behind the huge door of rock because of the rough behavior of her brother. After the incident, the world fell into the night. The other Deities tried to lure her outside of the door. As one of the attempts they made, they let roosters crowed.( She finally got out of the door and the new day dawned.) Because of this story, Ise shrine, the shrine Amaterasu Ohmikami was enshrined, keeps roosters as envoy of her.
Take a look at the picture above. This is the most primitive fashion of torii. Torii gate is made with barked tree usually but this torii wood is not barked. This torii is developed into two kinds of torii.
One is “Shinmei toii”.
The other is “Myohjin torii”. The toriis in Fushimi Inari Taisha belong to this kind. The difference between them is not color but the upper part of the torii. The upper part of Shinmei torii is flat and that of Myojin torii is curved.
As we discussed in the last chapter, Fushimi Inari Taisha became popular among merchants in Edo period. They asked Inari no Ohkami to let them prosperous with her power. When thier wishes became true, they donated Toriis to the shrine. It is said that there are about 10,000 Toriis and we can donate them even today.
Torii is painted in color called “Niiro”. Niiro is believd to be color prevent us from anything evil. The paint is made from cinnabar and keeps away wood from rot. Take a look at the picture above. That is a building of Heian Jingu shrine. It is a replica of a building of the ancient Imperial court. It is painted in the same color.
The beginning of “Senbon Torii”
As we discussed before, Torii is a gate which means the entrance of a sacred world but Senbob Torii has defferent meaning.
In Edo period (1603-1686), a merchant in Edo went into decline. He visited Inari shrine many times and he became very prosperous.
After the incident, many merchants visit Inari shrine and dedicated Totii gates as a gratitude for their prosperity.
We can devide the word “Torii” into 2 words: “To-ru” and “i “. It is a kind of rendition of Japanese words we always take. We translate the word as “Wish comes true”. This is the reason why we consider Torii as a thing has to do with prosperity.
Fox in Fusimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社のキツネ
Why foxes are there?
There’s a story. A long time ago, a white fox couple lived near Mt. Funaoka (We can locate it near Kinkakuji temple today.). They always wished that they had help people in despair. One day, they went to Fushimi Ianri Taisha with their five children to ask Inari no oh kami the way to take.
She answered: “Now you are my “Kenzoku”, the animals serve for and help Deities in the Shinto, and you take advantage of anything I have to save people in suffer.”
Since then, they live in Fushimi Inari Taisha.
The things the foxes have in the mouth
Rice plant 稲穂
As we discussed before, Inari no Ohkami gives us prosperity in rice cropping.
The globe stands for the Inari no Ohkami and her ability.
With the key, we can have the assistance from the Deity.
Hand scroll 巻物
In the ancient times, we recorded documents and pictures. The key and the globe stands for yin-yang which generates the wisdom. It is writtent in the hand scroll.
Oyama meguri in Fushimi Inari Taisha お山めぐり
Oyama meguri is a tour visiting 7 sacred place called “Goshin seki” in the Mt. Inari.
“Goshen seki” is places where small shrines used to be.
It takes 2~3hours to complete the tour.
Let us get down to business on the video.
In front of Oh-torii 大鳥居
This is the entrance of Fusimi inari Taisha. The gate tells a sacred and secular world. Behind it, the Romon gate and the main hall.
Behind the main hall, a tunnel of Torii gates bigins.
The entrance of the faous “Senbon Toii gates”.
“Senbon Torii” means “A thousand of Torii gates” but there are not 1,000 Torii gates actually.
Okusya sanpai jyo 奥社参拝所
The Oyama meguri tour starts here.
The entrance of Mt. Inari 行くでしかし
We start Oyama meguri. Here we go, BAAAH!
Mitsu tsuji crossing 三つ辻
Just walk straight and we are at at the crossing. We turn right.
Sometimes, we encounter Cryptids. Now we are en route to the sacred places, everything we never expected could happen.
We have two rest rooms in Mt. Inari. One of them is here.
Shin ike and Kumataka sha 新池と熊鷹社
If you have someone missing, crap your hands. You can find a clue in a direction the echo comes from.
Yotsu-tsuji crossing 四つ辻
We have a good view here. It is the best place to take a rest.
Around the crossing, we have restaurants. We can enjoy Japanese traditional foods here.
We have 2 ways to take; Go straight or turn left. The authentic way is the former and we take it.
Ganriki sha and Gocen dani 眼力社と御膳谷参拝所
Ganriki sha 眼力社
The word “Ganriki” means “The power/ability of eyes”. This meaning turned into “The ability to foresee the future (mostly in business).”
Gozendani sanpaijyo Goshin seki 御膳谷参拝所
In the ancient times, people served for the food for Deities.
We have one of the two rest rooms here.
Komainu has her baby in the breast.
Yakuriki sha 薬力社
“Yakuriki” means “Power of medicine”. We pray for our good health.
We can have boiled egg with Japanese tea here. Only 80 yen.
Mitsurigi sha Goshin seki 御劔社
There is a huge rock behind a shrine. It is a rock to which the Deity descend to.
We can find a komainu with her baby, too.
We head for Ichi no mine.
Ichi no mine Goshin seki 一ノ峰
The peak of the Mt. Inari. Omiyano Ohkami is enshrined. She bring us prosperity to our family and business.
Nino mine Goshin seki ニノ峰
Sata hiko no Ohkami is enshrined. He brings us good fortune.
At Nino mine, mirrors of the 4th century were excavated. They revealed the Mt. Inari used to be a “Kofun”, an ancient tomb.
We head for Sannno mine.
Kada sha Goshin seki 荷田社
Ise no Ohkami, a.k.a. Amaterasu Ohmikami is ensrined. We can see very rare torii gate here. Ii is “Nune torii”. There is a triangle in the torii. As far as I know, we have two Nune torii in Shinto shrine. Kasa sha and Nishiki tenmangu.
Sanno mine Goshin seki 三ノ峯
Ukano Mitamano kami, a.k.a. Inari no Ohkami is enshrined here.
Yotsu tsuji crossing 四つ辻
We are Yotsu tsuji crossing again. Now turn left.
Kojin mine Goshen seki 荒神峰
Ohnamuchi, a.k.a. Daikokuten is enshrined.
After Kojin mine, we climb down the mountain to Mitsu tsuji again.
Mitsu tsuji crossing 三つ辻
Now we are Mistu tsuji again. This time, we turn left.
Araki shrine 荒木神社
In couples of minutes later, we arrive at Araki shrine.
At Kuchi ire Inari, a sub shrine of Araki Inari, we can see Kawaii foxes.
The fox standing with lantern in his hand is “Banto san”. He leads the married couple behind him.
If we have wish, we ask these figurines and bring back our homes.
Lots of Kawaii souvenirs.
Sanba inari 産場稲荷
We climb down the mountain again, we reach “Sanba Inari”. The word “Sanba” means ” A place we give birth to child”. The wish we asked to the Deities in Oyama meguri is born here and the tour is finished.
In front of the gate, we can see the house.
The arrow on the house indicates the way to Fushimi Inari Taisha.
About Fushimi Inari Taisha
Name Fushimi Inari Taisha
Adress 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ward, Kyoto City
Opening hours: 24 hours
Entrance fee: Free except special visit.
Access to Fushmi Inari Taisha
Get off train at Inari station. Local line only.
Get off train at Fushimi Inari station. Local and Sub-express line only.