"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
Tōkyū Tōyoko Line
Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki-shi, Nakahara-ku,Shinmaruko-higashi 2-980
Keihin Fushimi Inari Jinja
December 27, 2017
(Note: numbers in parentheses after kami names
refer to position in How Many Kami table)
Tokiwai Inari Ōkami 常磐稲荷大神
A composite name for The Five Inari DaiMyōjin
Saruta-hiko-kami (115) 猿田毘古神
Fuji-Sangen Jinja 富士浅間神社
Hakusan Jinja 白山神社
Sanshinchie Inari 三神知恵稲荷
Chikibushima Benzaiten 竹生島弁財天
Gion-tamamitsu Inari Sha 祇園玉光稲荷社
Byakko Sha 白狐社
Mikawari-Kaiun Inari Sha 身代わり開運稲荷社
Earliest mention of: 1951
Annual Festival: ?
What became the Keihin Fushimi Inari Jinja was built gradually between 1945 and 1950 as part of an effort to rebuild and revitalize the war-damaged Keihin area. It was positioned roughly between Tokyo and Yokohama. In 1951 the first chief priest (guji) of the shrine, Tomizawa Kanjū (1905-1978), enshrined a deity from the Kyōto Fushimi Inari Jinja as a Shussei Inari through the kanjō process.
About 3 mins on foot from Shinmaruko station. The 14 metre high main torii was built in 1954. It is made of iron and its maximum width is 16 metres. The large number of kitsune here immediately brought to mind the Nishimori Inari Jinja in Yokohama's Minami-ku, but any resemblance between the two shrines stops there. If Nishimori Inari could reasonably be described as the embodiment of the wabi/sabi aesthetic, Keihin Fushimi Inari could just as reasonably be described as its negation. A Japanese friend described it to me as a fairground, a not entirely unfair description. In the middle of a bustling neighbourhood, it’s garish and well-maintained, showing no obvious signs of decay.
That said, its collection of kitsune are fascinating, coming in different colours, gray, black, white, green, and there is one lone green frog in their midst. There is a legend, not necessarily relating to this particular shrine, that white kitsune are those
which have practiced spiritual austerity and reached the age of over 500 and become messengers of the gods. Those kitsune which reach the age of over 3,000 are given divine status and are known as tenko (天狐, lit. heavenly fox).
Also interesting are the poses of the kitsune. In some cases it’s hard to make out what the pose is supposed to represent, some of them would seem to be enjoying carnal knowledge of each other, and one individual has her nails manicured a bright red.
Probably of more interest than the colour and poses of the kitsune is their number, 108 according to a signboard in the shrine. In Hinduism, and later Buddhism and other creeds, 108 is a profoundly mystical number, probably best known in the concept of 108 karmic links, while the Buddha’s necklace was said to have 108 beads. More locally, Japanese temple bells are tolled 108 times on as the old year gives way to the new. I plead ignorance as to whether or not the 108 kitsune of Keihin Fushimi Inari are in any way related to this mystical 108.
On a clear day, Mt. Fuji is visible from the general area, hence the presence of a Fuji-Sangen Jinja to the of the secondary torii. While not particularly large as Fujizuka go, but it is made of lava from Mt. Fuji and the same material has been used to solidify the ground around the main hall.
(Click on images to expand them)