Many Japanese shrines have sub-shrines dedicated to kami (gods or divinities) other than the shrine’s primary patron.
Fushimi Inari is no exception.
Partway up the mountain, a narrow path branches off the primary trail–if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to miss. If you follow the path a little way through the bamboo forest, you reach a shrine dedicated to Japan’s guardian dragons (ryu), where I saw this lovely statue:
I’ll share more about the statute, and the shrine, in a post next week.
One of my favorite parts of exploring foreign lands, and even unusual places closer to home, is the wonderful, unexpected things you find if you keep your eyes open and stay willing to travel off the beaten path.