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【Saga】Honoring “Inari,” The Fox Deity2015.11.27

151127祐徳神社

The “Yutoku Inari shrine” was built to honor “Inari,” one of Japan’s three major deities. Called “Yotoku san” by the locals, the 3rd largest shrine in Japan is located on the “Kashima” city “Saga” prefecture in Kyushu island. “Inari” is the name of its the Japanese deity “Okami,” the fox god. The deity “Inari” is represented as male, female, or androgynous, or sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual deities. Inari appears to have been worshiped since the founding of a shrine at “Inari” Mountain in 711 AD. “Yotoku Inari Shrine” represents and honors the “Inari” deity of rich harvests, business, family health, food, shelter, clothes and family property. Every year, over 2.8 million people visit this gorgeous shrine. It was constructed in 1688 as the family shrine of the “Nabeshima clan” who ruled what would become the “Saga” area (called “Hizen” at that time) during the Edo period.

Visitors say that this is a Japanese shrine of stunning beauty. Built on the mountain slope, the Roman type, two storied, vermilion shrine gates create an impressive contrast to the buildings, surrounding foliage, trees and stonewall. This also creates a seasonable brilliance with “Sakura” in a spring, summer green and autumn colors. The main shrine is “Kagura hall,” this beautiful shrine is called “Chinzei Nikko” meaning “Nikko” of the Kyushu region. “Yutoku Inari Shrine” Spring festival “Tamagae” occurs on April 8 and the Autumn festival “Ohitaki” occurs on December 8.

Please visit “Yutoku Inari Shrine” and enjoy a beautiful marriage of nature and history. To reach “Yutoku Inari Shrine,” you may want to take an airplane from Haneda to Fukuoka, which takes approximately 2 hours, rather than the bullet train, and then change to the local line. The trip takes about 6 hours.

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