(Note: numbers in parentheses after kami names
refer to position in How Many Kami table)
From Merged Shrines
Inari Jinja 稲荷神社
Earliest mention of: 1655-1657
Annual Festival: September 21
The shrine history tells us that it was founded during the Meireki Period (1655-1657) and served as the tutelary deity of the then Ikejiri and Ikezawa villages. Reflecting the powers attributed to it, it was worshipped as the Inari of both Protection from Fire and of Child Rearing. During the Edo Period, the shrine was well known for its “Eternal Well,”(涸れずの井戸) a spring which did not dry up even during the longest droughts. It was situated on what was then known as the Ōyama Kaidō, a main road connecting Akasaka-Hitotsuki Mura, now the area around the Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin in Motoakasaka, with the Oyama-Afuri Jinja in Iseyama in Kanagawa-ken and which in parts also served as a back road for the Tōkaidō. The Eternal Well was said to be the first drinking water always available after the road left Akasaka-Hitotsuki and magical powers were quickly attributed to it. So much so in fact that according to the shrine notice board an exhortation from a kami, Yakuriki Myojin (薬力明神), enshrined at Kyōto's Fushimi Inari Taisha, "Believe in the Kami, pray sincerely three times for recovery from your illness, drink the water of the spring as if it were divine medicine, and you will be cured by a God of Medicine, Yakuriki Myojin" was given wide circulation. The water from the spring which fed the Eternal Well is still used in the Temizuya.
Coming into the Meiji Period, military barracks and parade grounds were built nearby and the area flourished as a result.
This of course led to widespread destruction during the firebombing of May 1945, but the presence of two large zelkova trees in the shrine grounds helped to change the pattern of wind flows and the main hall emerged unscathed.
Less than 500 metres from the South Exit of Ikejiri Ōhashi Station. The shrine is not that eye-catching; an unusual feature is the woman/child statue next to the torii fronting on to the old Ōyama Kaidō. Note that the inscription on the Shingaku at the top right of the page is by an ex-prime minister, Satō Eisaku. These inscriptions, when they exist, are often so weather-worn as to be illegible, but they probably constitute a byway worth pursuing.
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