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Why Oji Inari Shrine is special ?
Oji Inari Shrine is another important shrine located a short walk from Oji Shrine. Dedicated to Inari, the god of rice harvest, it is one of the oldest shrines of the area. It is also considered the head Inari shrine of the eight provinces of Kanto. The Inari deity Daimyojin is also said to be enshrined here. It is believed that on New Year's Eve, foxes, who are considered to be the guardians and messengers of god Inari, gather here from all over the Kanto region. After being transformed into court ladies at the nearby Shozoku Inari, they come here at Oji Inari Shrine to pray.
The gate to the Inari Shrine grounds is guarded on both sides by a pair of stone foxes that date back to 1764. Other smaller stone foxes donated by worshippers and several stone monuments can be seen all over the grounds. The main shrine building was built in 1808 in the traditional style. The inner sanctum of the shrine is located at the back of the building.
What to explore at Oji Inari Shrine?
An annual event of the shrine is the Oji Fox Parade that is held each year on New Year's Eve to honor the foxes that are said to gather here on the night. Local residents, dressed in traditional dress and wearing paper-maché fox masks, gather at nearby Shozoku Shrine. From here they parade to Oji Inari Shrine. On the Oji Inari Shrine grounds, bonfires are lit and the participants dance around it. Food and drink stalls are put up for the participants and visitors who gather to watch the parade.
Another festival held at Oji Inari Shrine is the Tako Ichi , or the Kite Festival . This annual festival, which dates back to the Edo period, is held on February 6 each year. On this day kites are sold and flown on the shrine grounds. Kites hold an important place in Japanese culture as it is believed that they cut the wind and stop fires from spreading.
- The beautiful wooden shrine
- Mysterious back garden.
- Legend inspired many artist
- A hand painted ceiling
- Three beautiful waterfalls
Japan 〒114-0022 東京都北区 王子本町1丁目1−12
Tips for you
Said have been founded way back in the Heian era, Oji Inari is best known for its relation to fox mythology, a curious side note in Japanese traditional religion. The shrine is guarded by a number of fox statues, some of them holding the hoshi no tama ball that’s supposed to house the animal’s soul, and holds an annual fox parade on New Year’s Eve. Sitting on a lush hillside, the place still exudes an impressive, mystical vibe – especially if you go in the evening, when the noise from the nearby kindergarten isn’t as distracting. Note that as the main entrance is usually closed on weekdays, visitors need to take the slope on the left of the kindergarten and then turn right into the shrine grounds.