The Cats of Fushimi Inari Shrine

In Japanese culture, cats are frequently seen as “lucky,” (in fact, the popular “waving cat” or maneki-neko is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the “lucky cat”). Their presence at shrines is often considered lucky, too, and it’s common to see a cat or kitten strolling around at quite a few of Japan’s sacred sites. In this, Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine), located south of Kyoto, is no exception. While climbing Fushimi Inari a couple of years ago, my son encountered an adult cat that appeared from the forest and paused in front of him on the path, considering him for a moment before continuing calmly on its

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