Thursday, July 13, 2023

Yutoku Inari Shrine Part 2 Up Above


This is the second half of a piece on the famous Yutoku Inari Shrine in Kashima Saga. The first part, Yutoku Inari Shrine Part 1 Down Below,  looked at the shrine and its buildings at ground level.

The main hall of the shrine is on top of an 18-meter-high platform extending out from the hillside. Steps lead up but there is also a recently installed elevator.

Like the Romon and Kaguraden down below, the main hall is unusually decorative and colorful.

On the hillside across the river is Yutoku Inari Park, sometimes called the Outer Garden. In mid-February, it's not very colorful but in the Spring and Autumn, it is. From the park, there are numerous observatories to view the shrine

Above the main hall is the Okunoin, the inner shrine, and leading up to it are several paths lined with the corridors of red torii, a  typical feature of Inari shrines.

Each torii is usually, but not always, donated by a business, and their name is painted on it. Inari is a very popular kami for businesses with many private shrines erected on business premises.

Inari is, by one method of counting, the most popular shrine in Japan, though it did not become so popular until the Edo Period.

There is no mention of Inari in the ancient texts, though in Meiji the government established it within the imperial pantheon by deciding that it was, in fact, Ukanomitama, though in reality, like most deities in Japan, Inari has a multitude of identities, origins, and forms.

On the way to the inner shrine you pass numerous smaller shrines and altars, all to different manifestations of Inari.

The original Inari Shrine, and now the head shrine for all Inari shrines, is Fushimi Inari in the south of Kyoto, founded by the mysterious Hata Clan.

Yutoku Inari was established by the wife of one of the Nabeshima lords, rulers of the Kashima area.

Yutoku Inari was considered the family shrine of the Nabeshima, and nearby is the family temple of the Nabeshima, Fumyoji, and while Yutoku Inari is very popular, Fumyoji is almost derelict.


  1. Very interesting to learn about the history of the Inari shrines, etc.