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Inari Shrine.

There are numerous temples and shrines in Japan. The MUST are the ones in the vicinity of Nara and Kyoto, where they have beautiful Buddhist sculptures, and architectures of artistic value.
The pictures I took here are of the smaller places that aren't quite famous, but attracted me because of the legends and tales behind them.

Inari is the deity of harvest, the Rice God, but later it is also considered as the deity of
commerce and industry as well.
The messenger of Inari is the (white) fox, and the god or goddess is depicted as a fox too.
The god of the ricefields is said to come down from the mountain in spring and returns in autumn.
This may have some connection with the old Shinto belief that mountains possess
spirits or gods.
Inari shrines are guarded by a pair of stone foxes, and usually have numerous red torii gates leading to the sanctuary.
These pictures are the "small things" that I saw at the ground of the Toyokawa Inari Shrine in Tokyo.

The guardian fox

A miniature

red torii gate.

Banners and foxes dedicated
by people wishing for something
or in gratitude.

The fox is well-known for the ability to transform into human form, as are the serpent and badger.
As the messenger of Inari, the God of Rice, it is also feared for its malevolence.
To be possessed by a fox spirit is sometimes thought to be a cause of insanity or depression.
There are many tales of foxes and its mysteries that I hope I'd be able to collect
and write them on this site.

The guardian
(with a CUB!)

A pair of mini white
foxes that I brought
home for my collection.

(sold at the shrine for

At the entrance.