The Travelling Fox in Japan  (Read 91396 times)

Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #585 on: Oct 29 2019, 01:30 AM »
#571



Original Name: 丹後稲荷大明神 (?)
Transcript: Tango Inari Daimyoujin (?)
Translation: Russet Back Inari Great Gracious Deity (?)
Location: 3 Chome-4 Imai, Fuji-shi, Shizuoka-ken 417-0846 (35.140305, 138.716230)
Visited on: 27-Jan-2019



The final fox Shrine I should find on my epic Fuji cycling tour, as well as the last Shrine I should find during my stay in Numazu. Pressed by waning daylight, I hurry back towards Numazu along the coast of Suruga-wan - otherwise I might have been able to find more of them fox Shrines.

As it is, however, the sun has already set by the time I find this little Shrine, and all remaining light is reflected by clouds in the sky. I can barely make out the five foxies inside.

I am not entirely sure about the name of this Shrine. Google displays another Inari Shrine with that name nearby, but at the location of said shrine, there are only ruins now, so I persume that this Shrine was moved to its new location, here, which is only 2 STEPs away. But I can't be sure.
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #586 on: Oct 30 2019, 01:13 AM »
BONUS: WOLF #2



Original Name: 稲毛神社
Transcript: Inage Jinja
Translation: Rice Fur Shrine
Location: 7−7 Miyamotochō, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 210-0004
Visited on: 30-Jan-2019



The first Shrine I should visit after closing the circle and coming back to the Tokyo metropolitan area. This is in Kawasaki, where I've already been on the Kanayama Matsuri about nine months ago, and here I find an unusual Shrine guarded by fierce wolves instead of foxes. Once again, the right one is clearly distinguishable as a male.
« Last Edit: Oct 30 2019, 01:14 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #587 on: Oct 31 2019, 12:49 AM »
#572



Original Name: 堀田稲荷神社
Transcript: Hotta Inari Jinja
Translation: Ditch Field Inari Shrine
Location: 7−7 Miyamotochō, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 210-0004
Visited on: 30-Jan-2019



A Side Shrine of Inage Jinja, this time attended by a pair of foxes who faithfully watch over it.
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #588 on: Nov 02 2019, 01:37 PM »
#573



Original Name: 子神社
Transcript: Ne-no Jinja
Translation: Shrine of the Rat
Location: 7−7 Miyamotochō, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 210-0004
Visited on: 30-Jan-2019



Yet another Side Shrine of Inage Jinja. This one is named after the Zodiac sign of the Rat, and is ironically attended by a pair of foxes (even though they are already quite battered) and other beasts.
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #589 on: Nov 03 2019, 01:15 AM »
#574 GOLDEN



Original Name: 豊川稲荷 東京別院
Transcript: Toyokawa Inari Toukyou Betsuin
Translation: Bountiful River Inari Tokyo Branch Temple
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



The final Golden Fox Shrine I should visit in Japan. Or actually, it's a temple again, because this is the Tokyo Branch Temple of Toyokawa Inari, the previous Golden Fox Temple (#546).

Two great foxes watch over the main Temple, and there are countless little fox Shrines with many many foxes around that I will get to shortly.

But before that, this is also the place where I partook in an Inari Ceremony held by the Buddhist monks, and it was the most amazing experience ever. Taking pictures was not allowed, so instead please accept this vivid description along with a schematic I drew from memory.



We are admitted into the central prayer hall through a sliding door to the right. This hall is about 8m wide and 24m long, subdivided into four parts of about equal length by low fences that serve more as a symbolic separation than actual barriers. The outermost part is publicly accessible from the front of the Temple, and the second part is where we are admitted to. A pair of black foxes, one to the left and one to the right, watch over the barrier to the third part, where six bald monks and a head monk wearing a pointed cowl sit kneeling, facing the altar in the fourth and innermost part, arranged in a forward-facing 4-2-1 formation. The monk to the left back is facing a great drum, while the one to the right back has one large and one small metal bowl-shaped gong placed in front of him and is wielding a traditional bell-on-a-stick-shaped implement to ring the gongs.

The area we are entering is completely devoid of anything but a red carpet, so we hesitate for a moment, before I sit down kneeling in front of the left of the two foxes at the front of the segment, and the other supplicants follow suit, spreading around the floor and finding comfortable positions to sit in. As soon as we are all seated, the monk to the right rings the big gong, and as its clear note dissipates, the head monk begins chanting the prayer, and the other monks soon join in. Now, when I say "chant prayer", what probably comes to your mind is a slow and solemn chant, but this one is quite different. Instead, it is a fast-paced and determined chant, more akin to an invocation, which I suppose is exactly what this ceremony is about. It starts getting more intense as the monk to the left begins hitting the drum with fervent passion, producing intense and loud beats that pierce marrow and bone, reverberating all the way into the soul. And then, in an amazing display, the monks begin to flare up their Sutras, throwing the volumes of paper from left to right and back again, exposing the entirety of their texts for the briefest of moments, faster than any eye could follow.

A Sutra, that is a collection of teachings and writings unique to each particular sect and temple. Here in Japan, it traditionally takes the form of a "book" in which the pages are folded in a continuous zig-zag pattern and capped off with a cover page on either end. With sufficient skill – such as the monks clearly demonstrate – it is possible to throw all the pages from one side to the other in a continuous fluid motion, which Asa - my Japanese contact without whom this would not have been possible - should later explain to me counts as a full reading of the entire Sutra.



Following the fervent invocation which lasts for at least 15 minutes (though keeping track of time in this state of spiritual ecstasy is sort of difficult), the head monk takes the lead and recites the sutra in a festive and intense parlando, and once he has finished, he proceeds without pause to address the wishes and request from us the supplicants. Imploring the goddess Inari, he introduces each of us by name and residence, followed by the wishes we submitted earlier on. Interestingly, my entry seems to come as a bit of a surprise for him, for there is a slight but definitely noticeable pause before he proceeds to make the humble request on behalf of a little fox by the name of Kira Resari from Myunhen, Doitsu (ミュンヘン, ドイツ "Munich, Germany").

After all the wishes have been put forth, the monks resume their fervent chant while we the supplicants are asked by an attendant to follow him out of the main hall to the left side, only to be led along a corridor past the third part of the main hall and into the fourth part – the innermost sanctuary – located in front of the monks, where the innermost Shrines and altars are located. Here, we silently put forth our prayers again at each of the Shrines and altars, and since I've yet again run out of loose change at the Shrines outside, Asa is kind enough to provide me with a few coins that I can put forth to the gods as a sign of respect. In fact, she should do so without my asking after noticing that I had stopped producing coins from my wallet, which I suppose just goes to show what an integral part of the prayer ceremony the monetary offering is.


Photo of Innermost Sanctuary © Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Finally, we leave the innermost sanctuary through the right-hand door, which marks the end of the ceremony, and return to the administrative part of the building in which the waiting hall was located. It is here that I am further delighted by running into that one fateful poster again, that I saw at Kagoshima-Eki, and my photograph of which turned out to be to blurry for me to figure out the name of the depicted highly vulpine place afterwards (see Book II ~ Chapter 17 ~ Blue Destination). And now guess what? It turns out that this one highly vulpine place that I had assumed to be somewhere in Kyushu was Toyokawa Inari all along, and that the guiding hand of the Goddess brought me there unwittingly two weeks ago even with me not understanding as much up until now. What are the odds?



Now all that's left is picking up my now consecrated copy of the Book of Lore, along with a Kifuda (木札 "Tree Plaque", a wooden prayer plaque representing the Kami of a Shrine) on my name, something that I assume to be an Okashi (though I should resolve to wait until my eventual return to Germany to finally open it), as well as a mystery gift that should turn out to be… a cooking ladle! What are the odds? I mean, it's the perfect gift for me who likes to cook so much, but without divine guidance or superior intelligence, there's simply no way for the monks to have known as much in advance since I did not mention anything about cooking in my request. Also, since home-cooking currently is an all-time low in Japan, it seems like a far shot to just randomly give them out to some worshipers, which leaves the hand of the Goddess Inari as the only feasible explanation. I know this event certainly goes on my "Reasons to Believe"-list.



Notably, it is only after the ceremony that Asa realizes that it turned out to be a Buddhist ceremony instead of a Shinto one, having taken this place to be a Shrine. But I tell her it's okay. After all, I had not attended a Buddhist ceremony at all thus far, and a Buddhist ceremony dedicated to the Shinto Goddess Inari of all things is something so incredibly special that I have absolutely no regrets about coming here, especially considering just how absolutely epic the ceremony was. I guess this also demonstrates how tightly interwoven Buddhism and Shintoism are in Japan if not even the locals can tell them apart at times, and deities are worshipped across both religions.
« Last Edit: Nov 03 2019, 01:24 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #590 on: Nov 04 2019, 12:39 AM »
#575



Original Name: 子だき狐
Transcript: Kodaki Kitsune
Translation: Listless Child Foxes
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 1/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin. The Torii pretty definitely marks this one as a Shrine.

I'm not sure about the meaning of the name though, since the "Daki" is written in Hiragana for some reason. I suppsoe that means something, but have no idea what. Either way, seven foxes, big and small, watch over this place.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #591 on: Nov 05 2019, 12:18 AM »
#576



Original Name:  ? (Side Shrine of 豊川稲荷 東京別院)
Transcript:  ? (Side Shrine of Toyokawa Inari Toukyou Betsuin)
Translation:  ? (Side Shrine of Bountiful River Inari Tokyo Branch Temple)
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 2/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

In this little corner there's a trio of little nameless fox Shrines cuddled close together. This one is attended by a pair of foxes with a kit.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #592 on: Nov 06 2019, 12:05 AM »
#577



Original Name:  ? (Side Shrine of 豊川稲荷 東京別院)
Transcript:  ? (Side Shrine of Toyokawa Inari Toukyou Betsuin)
Translation:  ? (Side Shrine of Bountiful River Inari Tokyo Branch Temple)
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 3/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

Standing right behind the previous Shrine, huddled into the very corner, this tiny fox Shrine definitely wins the prize for most effective space utilization.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #593 on: Nov 07 2019, 12:25 AM »
#578



Original Name:  ? (Side Shrine of 豊川稲荷 東京別院)
Transcript:  ? (Side Shrine of Toyokawa Inari Toukyou Betsuin)
Translation:  ? (Side Shrine of Bountiful River Inari Tokyo Branch Temple)
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 4/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

The third tiny fox Shrine standing in this particular cluster. This time around, the two foxes watching over it have taken up shelter inside.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #594 on: Nov 08 2019, 12:53 PM »
#579



Original Name: 霊狐奉安之塚
Transcript: Reigitsune Houan-no Dsuka
Translation: Spirit Fox Den of Enshrinement
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 5/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin, and one of the most spectacular sights here.

In homage to the Reigitsunedsuka of Toyokawa Inari (#547), there's many, many foxes gathered here on a space of less than an are. And even Inarin, the official chubby fox mascot of Toyokawa, shaped like a roll of Inari Sushi, makes a guest appearance here.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #595 on: Nov 09 2019, 12:36 AM »
#580



Original Name: 吁枳尼真天
Transcript: Kuki Amashinten
Translation: Exclamation Orange Tree Nun True Heavens
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 6/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

I'm not so sure about the name of this one, but that's what it said on the flags. Still, it seems sort of weird.

Either way, there's not one, not two, but three pairs of foxes flanking the entrance of this Shrine. The outermost pair is quite unlike any other I've seen thus far on my journey, and that's quite a lot indeed by now.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:57 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #596 on: Nov 10 2019, 01:20 AM »
#581



Original Name: 吃枳尼真天
Transcript: Kitsuki Amashinten
Translation: Stammering Orange Tree Nun True Heavens
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 7/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

Again, I'm not sure about the name of this one, but that's what's written on the lanterns,

Even so, a total of seven (or is it eight?) foxes watch over this Shrine.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:58 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #597 on: Nov 11 2019, 12:50 AM »
#582



Original Name: 宇賀神王
Transcript: Ugajinnou
Translation: Harvest God King
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 8/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

This Side Shrine features a stairway of foxes as never seen before to either side... as well as a number of foxes (and snakes) inside.

Just like with Inari Shrines, white foxes and snakes are also the favoured guardians of Ugajin, the god of harvests, since they keep the fields free of rodents.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:58 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #598 on: Nov 12 2019, 12:44 AM »
#583



Original Name: 大郎稲荷
Transcript: Tarou Inari
Translation: Great Son Inari
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 9/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

A small Side Shrine to the right of Ugajinnou. This one is populated by one big and four little foxes.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:58 AM by Kira Resari »
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Offline Kira Resari

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Re: The Travelling Fox in Japan
« Reply #599 on: Nov 13 2019, 12:46 AM »
#584



Original Name: 徳七郎稲荷
Transcript: Tokushichirou Inari
Translation: Virtuous Seven Sons Inari
Location: 1 Chome-4-7 Motoakasaka, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0051 (35.676434, 139.732967)
Visited on: 31-Jan-2019



Vulpine Side Shrine 10/14 of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin.

Mirroring Tarou Inari, this one stands on the left side of Ugajinnou. A total of eleven foxes of varying sizes find shelter within.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:58 AM by Kira Resari »
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