"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
Tōkyō-to, Taitō-ku, Ueno Kōen 4-17
Hanazono Inari Jinja
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June 22, 2017
The origin is not clear but there seems to have been a shrine, known either as Ana Inari (穴稲荷), so called because it stood atop a small rock cave, or Shinobigaoka Inari(忍岡稲荷) near the current site since olden times but it fell into disuse. Tradition says that in 1654 a monk called Kōkai (晃海), a disciple of the Tendai Buddhist monk Tenkai, had a vision or in which he was urged to revive the disused shrine and restore the guardian deity of Ueno. A more prosaic account has it that he was ordered to do so by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third of the line. Either way he did, but the new shrine also fell into disuse, and it was not until 1873 that it was again rebuilt and given its current name.
Situated in Ueno Park midway between Ueno Zoo and Ueno Royal Museum and next to Shinobazu Pond the shrine is very much on the Ueno Park tourist route: don't go expecting serenity. It is quite picturesque, with two archetypically Inarian vermilion torii tunnels.
Ukanomitama-kami (Kojiki) 宇迦能御魂神
Ukanomitama-mikoto (Nihongi) 倉稲魂命
From Merged Shrines
Earliest mention of: 1654
Annual Festival: April 11