What The Fox?

On the way home from Nagato Jeremy and I passed by this huge shrine. We turned around and came back to check it out. After parking we realized the shrine area was much larger than we were expecting.

The first building we came across seem to be a small Buddhist shrine. We dropped some yen coins into the offering box to light some incense and two candles. Someone had lit one before we had arrived.

 

Beside the shrine was a LARGE Japanese building. I’m not sure if it was shrine, or a temple, or a home, or what. We walked around looking at it but we couldn’t find anything explaining what it was and our translators weren’t working very well.

As we continued past the building we found a very cemetery that went up the side of the mountain. Jeremy run up the stairs to check it out. I decided to stay on the lower level because after the Mara Kannon Shrine and the onsen, I was started to feel warn out. The cemetery was definitely old and seemed to have a variety of grave stones. Again I wish I had someone who understood what we were looking at with us. I would have loved to know the history behind this place and some of the people buried there.

As Jeremy explored the graveyard, I explored the area just past the graveyard. It had various different gardens but I’m not sure what the purpose of garden was for. They were interesting none the less and I enjoyed walking around them.

 

Once Jeremy came back down from the graveyard we continued down the path towards the big shrine we had seen from the street. I have no idea what this shrine is for but judging from the foxes out from I’m guessing it had to with the God of Goddess Inari.

Jeremy and I again lit incense and candles in front of the shrine.

I’ve spent many hours trying to googling this shrine. I can’t find any pages that are easily translated to tell me what this area is for. I am going to try to go back when it is open and there is someone working there that can tell me more about it. It was fun exploring it but I have so many questions about the whole area. I really need to figure out how to find a National to go traveling with us to explain these things for me.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Reenu Jerath says:

    I enjoyed going through your blog! Thank you for sharing your adventures- the pictures make it all come alive.

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    1. Thank you so much! I try to take lots of pictures to share with everyone who can’t go the adventures with me. Thank you from visiting my blog. I hope you come back again soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LillianC says:

    What a discovery! Shrines to Inari have some of the most interesting features. You take great photos! I’m always a bit startled when I see the “bibs” and even the hats the Japanese will put on the statues of Ojizo-sama.

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    1. Thank you for telling me what those little statues are! I have been trying to figure it out but google has been giving me a few different answers!

      Now that I know what they are called and looked up their meaning I’m stunned. I didn’t know they meant that. That has to be heart breaking for the parents.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LillianC says:

        You’re welcome! When I was in Kyoto, I found so many shrines to Ojizo-sama tucked away in side streets, and even one right beside a major bank. From what I’ve read about Shinto and Buddhist practices, I believe the statues of Ojizo-sama also bring great comfort.

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      2. I wonder why they place them by businesses like that. Since you told me their meaning I have definitely been noticing them more often. It also makes sense why some of them are decorated with children’s print fabric.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. LillianC says:

        I think it might tie into hoping Ojizo-sama will bless you with children, which is another form of prosperity. Ojizo-sama might be related to making sure your business does well so your children have everything they need.

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  3. Jay E. says:

    Could the foxes be kitsune?

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    1. They could be. I’m still looking into it. It’s fun researching it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my, how beautiful!

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  5. brinkling says:

    One of my favorites shrines is in Kyoto – Fushimi Inari. It’s known for all of its foxes, and it’s believed by many people (including many Japanese people) that the foxes (or ‘kitsune’) are the gods of the shrine. But actually, they are messengers for a different god who’s image is rarely shown. The foxes hold the key to the rice house and a ball of some kind (not sure what that symbolizes). In your pictures one is holding a scroll, so I assume this is similar in nature, where they are messengers for the gods.

    Hope that helps some – shrines are pretty unique and meaning can vary in different regions, I believe. I’m no expert but it was always one of my favorite places to visit while in Japan!

    As for meeting a Japanese person to travel with you – I’d suggest joining a local English speaking group if you can, where you’ll meet Japanese people who want to learn English. Or you could volunteer somewhere. A third option of course is to start learning Japanese so you can read it yourself (which you may be doing already, I’m not familiar enough with your blog yet to know)!

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    1. That is really interesting information about the shrines. Thank you for that. I love how much detail there is at the shrines. I can’t wait to see more and learn more about them.

      I am trying to find a local English speaking group. I’m honestly not sure how to go about doing that. Same with the volunteering. I am working on learning Japanese myself. I have a couple of workbooks I am working through. It’s slow but I am recognizing more kanji when we are out and about than before.

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      1. brinkling says:

        Yeah, I miss shrines a lot! Especially Fushimi Inari.

        As for meeting others – Meetup.com might be a good place to start. I’ve never used it and I’m not sure where in Japan you are, but a quick look told me there’s tons in Osaka and Tokyo. Since the website is in English it’ll be a lot easier for you to navigate.

        Volunteering might indeed be hard without knowing the language. It’s something I wanted to do in Japan but never got to, so I’m afraid I don’t have any advice there. Unless you know of some organizations you like that are international? Like Polaris (fights human trafficking) is located in Washington DC and also Tokyo. If it’s something like that, there may be an English version of their website, where you can find contact information.

        Language workbooks are good to keep you on track and learning the nitty gritty stuff, but I’ve found it’s hard to stay motivated unless I add something I like too. So if you like crafts, maybe look up craft videos on YouTube in Japanese, or if you like exercise, follow along in Japanese. Or if you like music, search some Japanese playlists until you find things you like. Or TV shows. And for kanji – I definitely recommend Heisig!

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  6. I’ve been studying Inari shrines and Torii Gateways all morning. I’ve fallen in love with Japanese folklore and find the foxes intriguing for many reasons. Kitsune. The foxes usually come in pairs and guard Inari’s rice…I think they even hold a key in their moutha at times. So much to learn. Thanks for this post.

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    1. I still have a lot to learn about the different shrines and Torii gates. Please tell me more about what you know. 🙂

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