Climbing the Lower Slopes of Mount Inari

As the god of rice, merchants, swordsmiths, fertility, foxes, and many other things, Inari Okami’s presence is ubiquitous in Shinto worship. Over ten thousand Japanese shrines have altars dedicated to Inari, but Fushimi Inari Taisha, south of Kyoto, is Japan’s largest and most important Inari shrine. For the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging an extended “visit” to Fushimi Inari, starting at the shrine’s main entrance, proceeding past the main altar, and finally (today) starting the climb up Mount Inari itself. Fushimi Inari is famous for its thousands of bright red torii – gates that traditionally mark the entrance to a Shinto sacred space.  The entrance

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