Sunday, August 11, 2019

Nishiyama Inari Shrine, Sakate, Shodoshima

By the afternoon of my first day walking the Shodoshima Pilgrimage I had done a loop around the peninsula, passed my ryokan, and crossed over a narrow isthmus to Sakate where a group of mountaintop temples awaited me.

This line of vermillion torii led to a small Inari shrine. If you only consider shrines big enough to have buildings, then Hachiman shrines are the most common in Japan, but if you include smaller shrines then Inari is the most common.

Inari shrines became popular relatively late, in the Edo Period. Inari is not mentioned in the so-called ancient chronicles of Kojiki and Nihongi, but in the Meiji period it was decided that the identity of Inari was Ukanomitama  and so officially that is the identity listed although in reality Inari has countless forms and associations.

The tunnels of red torii and statues of kitsune, foxes, are two common things associated with Inari shrines....


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