|Deity||Uka-no-Mitama-no-Ōkami, et al. as Inari Ōkami|
|Location||Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan|
Shown within Kyoto city
Fushimi Inari-taisha (Japan)
|Glossary of Shinto|
Fushimi Inari-taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is the head shrine of the kami Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and take approximately 2 hours to walk up.
Inari was originally and remains primarily the kami of rice and agriculture, but merchants and manufacturers also worship Inari as the patron of business. Each of Fushimi Inari-taisha's roughly thousand torii was donated by a Japanese business.
Owing to the popularity of Inari's division and re-enshrinement, this shrine is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines (分社 bunsha) throughout Japan.
The shrine became the object of imperial patronage during the early Heian period. In 965, Emperor Murakami decreed that messengers carry written accounts of important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were initially presented to 16 shrines, including the Inari Shrine.
From 1871 through 1946, Fushimi Inari-taisha was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines.
The earliest structures were built in 711 on the Inariyama hill in southwestern Kyoto, but the shrine was re-located in 816 on the request of the monk Kūkai. The main shrine structure was built in 1499. At the bottom of the hill are the main gate (楼門, rōmon, "tower gate") and the main shrine (御本殿, go-honden). Behind them, in the middle of the mountain, the inner shrine (奥宮, okumiya) is reachable by a path lined with thousands of torii. To the top of the mountain are tens of thousands of mounds (塚, tsuka) for private worship.
The highlight of the shrine is the rows of torii gates, known as Senbon Torii. The custom to donate a torii began spreading from the Edo period (1603 – 1868) to have a wish come true or in gratitude for a wish that came true. Along the main path there are around 1,000 torii gates.
Foxes (kitsune), regarded as the messengers, are often found in Inari shrines. One attribute is a key (for the rice granary) in their mouths.
Unlike most Shinto shrines, Fushimi Inari-taisha, in keeping with typical Inari shrines, has an open view of the main object of worship (a mirror).
A drawing in Kiyoshi Nozaki's Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance and Humor in 1786 depicting the shrine says that its two-story entry gate was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
The shrine draws several million worshipers over the Japanese New Year, 2.69 million for 3 days in 2006 reported by the police, the most in western Japan.
The shrine is just outside the Inari Station on the Nara Line of the West Japan Railway Company (JR), a five-minute ride from Kyoto Station. It is a short walk from Fushimi-Inari Station on the Main Line of the Keihan Electric Railway.
The shrine is open 24 hours with both the approach to the shrine and the Honden (本殿, main hall) itself illuminated all night. There is no entrance fee.
In the approach to the shrine are a number of sweet shops selling tsujiura senbei (辻占煎餅), a form of fortune cookie dating at least to the 19th century, and which are believed by some to be the origin of the American fortune cookie.
A part of the Noh play Kokaji takes place in Fushimi Inari-taisha.