How to Make the Gods Hear Your Prayers : Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine
Defying the evening mist, Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine stands proud. A blaze of vermilion torii gates parade up a steep slope. Fox statues stare at you. The twisty trail takes you to a breathtaking mountaintop view. A fairyland of lights twinkle magic.
Many an atheist may have become believers at Fushimi Inari Jinja. (Shrine in Japanese is jinja.) Besides the majestic beauty, the magic is almost palpable. Maybe that’s due to the prayers of the faithful. Or perhaps Inari, Japanese Shinto god of the harvest, blesses the shrine grounds. Could it be the fox statues – messengers of Inari, god of the harvest – come to life and actually deliver good news?
In Japan, 40,000 shrines are dedicated to Inari, the deity of the rice harvest. Fushimi Inari was built in 711 AD as the headquarters. The harvest is, of course, important. But a harvest blessing has blossomed into a metaphor for prosperity. How does one get to a life of riches? In Japan, entrance into an Ivy League university paves the path to success. Entrance exams results are important. So, one of the sub-shrines at Fushimi Inari is dedicated to the deity who helps students. The proper method to make the gods hear your prayers at Shinto shrines is in the short YouTube below.
Fun fact: One of Japan’s most powerful samurai leaders, Hideyoshi Toyotomi burned down dozens of Buddhist temples. But he was enamored with Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine. The fierce samurai donated the ginormous torii gate at the entrance.
Fushimi Inari is the closest train station to the shrine. The site is a must for anyone visiting Kyoto.
The address and the web sites for the Fushimi Inari Shrine in English and Japanese:
Fushimi Inari Taisha
68 Fukakusa Yabu-no-uchi-cho
Click here for further Fushimi Inari directions.
Wishing you a bountiful harvest of your heart's desires.
The Ninja Baker
© ™ Watkinson 2012
The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.