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2015年4月19日日曜日

The history of Oinari-san

Few days ago, I wrote about "Oinari-san".

http://four-seasons-japan.blogspot.jp/2015/04/oinari-sama-messenger-of-god.html

Japanese people are familiar about them with it's symbol, red gate called "Tori-i".





The start of their history is about 1300 years ago.
From ancient times, foxes are thought as one of the holy animal.
There two reason why the foxes thought as harvest god's messenger.

* The first reason is they captured and ate the rats.
   (Rats where harmful which eats rice.)

* The second reason is their tails shapes seemed rice grain.



In the ancient Japanese history book, "Nihon-shoki" said as edited in year 720 A.D., "Fushimi Inari" shrine appears. "Fushimi Inari" shrine is settled in Kyoto, the head temple of all Inari shrine in Japan.

"Fushimi Inari" become the most popular tourist spot between foreign traveler in Japan which trip adviser searched, so you may heard about it.

When it become Edo era, about 1600 A.D., not only the messenger for harvest, the foxes become the messenger of  "Merchant's god".

Now, it is said 32,000 Inari shrines in Japan, not including individual person's and company's shrines.

Not all shrine have foxes, but it maybe fun to look for them if you see red gate, "Tori-i".


I couldn't find fox in this roadside shrine, but cat was cute.
(It's shrine at "Eno-shima".)