On October 16th, 2020 I visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan with my husband Philip. Also known as the ‘Fox shrine’.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital’s move to Kyoto in 794.
Source: Japan Guide
PHOTO: Geoffrey.landis of Wikipedia
Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station. We were staying in Gion, Kyoto and booked a taxi to take us to the shrine only 15 minutes (5.7km) away.
It was the day I found out that my mother had passed away and I was in shock. Having read about the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine I thought it was fitting to make the trek towards the top of Mount Inari up the many steps inside the tori gates like the stairway to heaven. I tried to push through my grief and made the most of the day.
We started with washing our hands in a ritualistic way, using the ladles to dip into the water and then splash the water over our palms.
This was my view as I walked through the gates, each one decorated with the name of somoene who sponsored that gate. It was a surreal experience and a highlight of my first trip to Japan.
There was a display with fox-shaped pieces of wood. You added the eyes to personalise the fox. I chose a winking eye design. I made a wish for my mother, ‘the safety of one’s family’. It was my first time writing in Japanese kanji (writing) and as I was writing it I was sending loving thoughts to my Mother. I could feel her presence with me on the day.
I also purchased a Hitakigushi stick where I wrote on, ‘that my mother rests in peace’.
I bought some talismans, including ‘Warding off evils’ and for ‘good health’.
I loved the Japanese red bridge and the lush green behind it.
There was a lovely creek which gave me a moment of tranquility
I bought some souvenirs