伏見稲荷大社

( Fushimi Inari-taisha )

Fushimi Inari-taisha (Japanese: 伏見稲荷大社) is the head shrine of the kami Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and take approximately 2 hours to walk up.

Inari was originally and remains primarily the kami of rice and agriculture, but merchants also worship Inari as the patron of business. Each of Fushimi Inari-taisha's roughly 10,000 torii was donated by a Japanese business, and approximately 800 of these are set up in rows that give the impression of entering a tunnel.

Owing to the popularity of Inari's division and re-enshrinement, this shrine is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines (分社 bunsha) throughout Japan.

 Front view of the haiden

The shrine gained imperial patronage during the early Heian period.[1] In 965, Emperor Murakami decreed that messengers carry written accounts of important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines, including the Inari Shrine.[2]

From 1871 through 1946, Fushimi Inari-taisha was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines.[3]

Unlike most Shinto shrines, Fushimi Inari-taisha, in keeping with typical Inari shrines, has an open view of the main object of worship (a mirror).

A drawing in Kiyoshi Nozaki's Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance and Humor in 1786 depicting the shrine says that its two-story entry gate was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

The shrine draws several million worshipers over the Japanese New Year, 2.69 million for 3 days in 2006 reported by the police, the most in western Japan.

Structures

The earliest structures were built in 711 on the Inariyama hill in southwestern Kyoto, but the shrine was re-located in 816 on the request of the monk Kūkai. The main shrine structure was built in 1499.[4] At the bottom of the hill are the main gate (楼門, rōmon, "tower gate") and the main shrine (御本殿, go-honden). Behind them, in the middle of the mountain, the inner shrine (奥宮, okumiya) is reachable by a path lined with thousands of torii. To the top of the mountain are tens of thousands of mounds (, tsuka) for private worship.

Senbon Torii

The highlight of the shrine is the rows of torii gates, known as Senbon Torii. The custom to donate a torii began spreading from the Edo period (1603–1868) to have a wish come true or in gratitude for a wish that came true, with successive gates being added up to the present day by donors out of gratitude. Along the main path there are around 800 torii gates.[5]

^ Breen, John et al. (2000). Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami, pp. 74–75. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1962). Studies in Shinto and Shrines, pp. 116–117. ^ Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1959). The Imperial House of Japan, pp. 124. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric et al. (1998). Japan encyclopedia, p. 224. ^ Cite error: The named reference NDL was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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