“ Fushimi-Inari Taisha”
Fushimi-Inari Taisya in Fushimi, Kyoto is the Grand Head shrines among 30,000 nationwide Inari shrine. Recently, it has been selected as “No.1 shrine that foreigner’s most want to visit”.
You can reach to Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine by walking for 7 minutes from Keihan Train, Fushimi-Inari Station and passing through the red Torii gate. Since my grandfather’s company dedicated a Torii to Fushimi Inari, I visited Fushimi Inari Taisha every New Year until I was an elementary school.
A lot of Torii lined up and you have to pass through them to reach the top of the mountain. I remembered that the scenery was unique.
I heard that there are “the Seven Wonders of Kyoto” in Kyoto city, and this time, I examined Seven Wonders of Fushimi Inari Taisya which has very mysterious atmosphere!
What is Seven Wonders of Kyoto？
The Seven Wonders of Kyoto are literally the wonders of Kyoto. Kyoto has a very old history, so there are various wonders in everywhere. Also, there are more than seven wonders in one place or many stories that are connected to some kind of monster, hell and paradise.
When you go to Kyoto for sightseeing, if you go along with such a little wonder, it might be a bit more unusual and interesting?
The gods of Fushimi Inari TAisya
So, before I explain Seven Wonders of Fushimi Inari Taisya, let’s review this shrine’s background briefly.
Fushimi Inari, or “Inari” seems to have various theories in the faith, but Fushimiinari has five festival gods (Five pillars: “Pillar” is the counting unit of “God” in Japanese shrine)
・ Ukano Mitama Okami- : Shimosya (Central)
・ Satahikono Okami :-Nakasha (North)
・ Oomiyanomeno Okami :-Kamisha (South)
・ Tanaka no Okami- : Shimosha Setsuka (Northmost)
・ Shinookami : Chusha Setsha (Southmost)
These five gods of are being enshrined. Then were originally worshiped as gods of “ Gokokuoujyou” = huge harvest. However, it is now said that they have more benefits for “business prosperity” and “family safety”, so this has become more famous.
As the name “Inari”, it originates from “rice”, that is, food. The first pronunciation of the word “rice grows” is changed to “inase” and eventually it has become to be called “inari”.
The following two stories are famous for the establishment of Fushimi Inari Taisha.
1. On the day of the first Horse day (Hatsuuma) in February in 711,”Iroko no Hatano Kimi ” worshiped the gods on the top of three mountains in the Inari mountain by the imperial order.
2. Kobo Daishi and Kukai needed to rebuild their own temple, Kyoto and Toji (Toji) and built a five-storied pagoda, and they decided to cut trees at Inari Mountain. Therefore, they built a shrine to worship the Mountain God, and this shrine is originated from Fushimi Inari Taisha. The second theory is more famous, but it is believed that the founder of Fushimi Inari was ” Iroko no Hatano Kimi “.
So, let’s see the Seven wonders of Fushimiinari Taisya more detail.
Seven wonders of Fushimiinari Taisya
Part 1 Soil of Oyama
“Oyama” is the Inari mountain which is 230 meters and stands back of the main hall. Inariyama is Kannabiyama where is a sacred place where Inari God descends and settles down. Because Inari God has a good luck for the rich harvest of the five grains, it was believed that five grains would be well harvested if the soil of this Inari mountain was sprinkled in the fields.
Part 2 “Shirushi no Sugi” (Good luck of Japanese cedar)
At Fushimi Inari Taisha, “Cedar” is considered to be a sacred tree, and there are many places covered by cedar such as “Umbrella cedar Daimyojin”, “Ipponsugi Daimyojin”, “Three cedars Daimyojin”, and “Big cedar Daimyojin”.
In addition, in honor of the first day of February, 711 when Inari God descended on Inariyama, the festival “Hatsuuma sai” is held on the first Horse day of February in every year. It is done. This festival is the largest festival of “Inari-shirine” that has continued since Heian period (9th century) , and “Shiruhi no Sugi (Good luck of cedar)” is awarded to the worshippers only on this festival day.
Part 3 Senbon Torii (A Thousand of Torii gate）
Senbon Torii </ span>
As you climb Inari mountain from the main shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha, the vermillion Torii is lined countlessly. You will be overwhelmed by its appearance. This is the “red tunnel”, commonly known as “Senbon Torii”, and if you go through the Torii, it means “your wish goes through”. So, when you go through the Torii, it would be nice if you ask your wish comes true.
When I was little, of course I did not know this kind of story. These vivid Torii lasts about 4 km, and the total number seems to exceed more than 10,000, not 1,000. Although still many people want to dedicate Torii, it is difficult because there is no space.
Torii has really beautiful and fantastic atmosphere.
Part 4 Omokaru Ishi (Heavy or light Stone)
There is a pair of stone lanterns on the right side of Okusha Shrine (called “Oku-no-in”), which is at the end of the Senbon Torii gate. The part on the top of the lantern which is slightly different color is called the empty ring, and it is called “Omokaru Isi”.
First, make a wish in front of the lantern regardless of the right side or left side. Then, lift the precious stone with both hands. At this time, if you feel lighter than you expected, your wishes will come true, or, if you feel heavy, your wishes will not come true. Well, it doesn’t seem so heavy, but it is said the stone might heavier you would expect. Isn’t it exciting to try it?
Part 5 Shin Ike (New Pond)
There is a small pond called “Shinike” (New Pond) beside the approach from Okusha Hosaisyo to Three-forked road. There is a kind of fortune-telling. If a person who is looking for a missing person claps hands to this Pond, they might be able to get some clue for a missing person.
In addition, there is a pond called “Kodama Ike (Kodama pond) ” at the side of a shrine called “Kumabushisha” just after walking to the left back of Inari Mountain. Even in here, there is a kind of a tradition that if you hit your hand to “Kodama pond”, you can find the missing person in the returned echo direction.
Part 6 Tsurugi Ishi (Sward stone)
There is a temple called “Mitsurugi sha” at the middle point of the Crossroad and Ichinomine. Beind of the temple, there is a huge stone which is wrapped in a sacred rope, This is “Tsurugi Ishi”. Because the shape of the point of the stone is pointed, it is called sword stone. In addition, it was said that gods sealed off “raging thunder” by Tsurugi Ishi long time ago, so, it is also known as “Thunder Stone” by another name.
Part 7 Countless Tsuka
In Inari mountains, there are countless small shrines called “Otsuka” aside from the Setsu Matsu sya (small shrines in the Grounds ) Miniature Torii are piled up like Goma tree and stone monuments are lined up in the grounds of Setsu Matsu sya. It looks like a strange scene.
Individual people dedicated those Otsuka for a private guardian deity. But, nobody knows who or why have done it. Because the number is too large, it is counted as one of the Seven Wonders of Fushimi Inari Taisya.
How was the Seven Wonders of Fushimi Inari Taisha? It is no exaggeration to say that each old temples and shrines in Kyoto has its own history and story.
As I examined the Seven Wonders of Fushimi Inari Taisha, I felt a new attraction although I experienced visiting this shrine. Senbon Torii of Fushimi-Inari Taisha is truly majestic, and makes me feel wonder when you go through.
Please check Seven Wonders out as well when you visit Fushimi Inari Taisha together!