Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto (伏見稲荷大社・京都)

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine was founded in 711 in Kyoto.

The numerous red Torii gates are the icon of this shrine, but there are some other things you can enjoy seeing there.

Below are some questions many people might have about this shrine and the answers.

1. Why are there foxes?

The foxes (called ‘Inari’) are messengers for deities of rice.

Because they protect rice by scaring away sparrows which eat rice in the fields.

 

The gold orb (on the tail of foxes) symbolizes the spirit of the Inari deities.

 

The scroll (in the mouth of the fox) symbolizes wisdom.

 

2.  What is this vermilion color for?

The vermilion color for the torii gates and buildings of Fushimi Inari Shrine symbolizes abundant crops.

The color also drives away evil spirits.

 

3.  What is this rope for?

Wherever you see the rice straw rope of this / similar kind, the area beyond it is considered to be a sacred area.

It is called ‘Shimenawa’ in Japanese.

The white paper cutouts hung from the Shimenawa symbolize lightning,  and the rice-straw fringes symbolize rainfall, both of which are indispensable natural phenomena to grow rice.

 

4. What are these small red gates?  Somethin is written on each.

People write their wishes on the small red gate(called ‘Torii’)  ornaments.

 

5.  What are these white paper strings?

Folded white paper strings tied on the bars are fortune telling paper called ‘Omikuji’.

When people draw a bad luck, they leave it behind by tying it on a designated place.