by 004 Daichan on October 30, 2016 - 5:26am
There are a lot of Shinto shrines in Japan, and lots of foreign tourists are interested in them. Shrines are visited during special events such as the New Year, Shichigosan,which is a Japanese annual event to celebrate health growth and wish longevity for three and seven-year-old daughters. Many couples hold their wedding ceremonies there and new born babies are traditionally brought to a shrine a few weeks after birth to celebrate their bath. People visit shrines in order to pay respect to the gods or to pray for good fortune. Especially Fushimi Inari-Taisha, which is located in southeast tern part of Kyoto, is one of Japan’s best known shrines. It is the head shrine among 30,000 other Inari shrines located across Japan. It has been chosen as an important cultural property, so this shrine has Shinto gods, an old history and some interesting points.
Do you know how many gods there are? There are five Gods in this shrine. The main enshrined deity is Ukanomitamanookami, who is also known as Oinarisan or god of harvests、wealth、and fertility. Lots of shrines deifies Komainu, which is like a pair of stone-carved guardian dogs, However, this shrine deifies foxes, because it is said that foxes are incarnation of Ukanomitamanonkami. If you join your hands in prayer in front of these Gods in Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Gods will give you some benefits such as abundant crops, success in business and traffic safety. In fact, I have been there and prayed, so that my line of work went well.
Do you know why Fushimi Inari-Taisha was built? This shrine was founded by Iguro Hata, who moved to Japan from China. One day, he shot an arrow from a bow, aiming at a rice cake. However, the rice cake changed into a swan, and the bird flew over a mountain. At the place where the arrow fell, rice grew. From that, he realized that this place was holy, so he built the shrine. This story is the origin of Fushimi Inari-Taisha. When I read this story, I was amazed, because I did not know why the shrine was built.
If you first see this shrine’s Toriis (shrine gates), you will be surprised. Fushimi Inari-Taisha is famous for its 10,000 and more closely-arranged orange Toriis (also known as Senbon Torii) that wind over the hills of Mount Inari beyond the entrance of the shrine. It is said that each Torii was built to lead to the Gods’ realm at the top of the mountain. Each gate has been donated by companies or organizations, giving thanks for their prosperity and hope for good fortune in the future. I think these Toriis are very beautiful, so I recommend you see them.
You are able to check if your wish is granted or not. This shrine has an Omokaruishi which is a stone lantern. When you pass through the Senbon Torii, you will be able to see a pair of stone lanterns. You make your wish in front of a stone lantern, (either is okay) and you lift up Omokaruishi. If you think that the stone is light, it means that your wish can be granted. However, if you think that the stone is heavy, it means that your wish cannot be granted. If you are interested in your future, why don’t you lift up this stone? I have never tried it before, but I want to try some day, because I have lots of wishes now.
When I first saw Senbon Torii, I was really overwhelmed and I thought that I was able to get some power from God. If you go there, I am sure you will be able to feel the way I did. If you are interested in this shrine, please come to Japan.