July 14, 2009

The White Fox

Another shot of the Sakainari Shrine.

There are many Inari Shrines in Japan and most of them are protected by the white fox. They are messengers for the Inari God.

This white fox has a couple of pups with her. Some of the statues at other shrines are of very fierce looking foxes, but this one seems to actually be smiling. I wonder why.

She is standing on the left side of the walkway that leads to the shrine.


henny said...

You're back, safe and sound. Thank God.
Does Inari Shrines belong to Shinto faith? And I want to know about the white ribbon-like usually hung on the rope. What is that?

dyanna said...

Beautiful pictures.I like your blog.

Mo said...

What is the history behind the fox at the shrines

Kaori said...

Henny, yes, the shrines here in Japan are mostly all Shinto, and the temples mostly Buddhist. The rope is called 'Shimenawa' which separetes this world with the sacred area within the shrine. The white paper is called 'Shide' and used as a purifying ritual. I found out all this from my boss since I'm a christian and have basically no understanding about Shinto. Thanks for asking, Henny :)

Dyanna, Thank you for the comment, I'm glad you like it :)

Mo, the foxes, who are said to be able to change shapes, are connected to the Inari God. They are his messengers and usually stand guard within or at the gate of the shrine. The Inari God is said to be able to turn into a fox too. There are a lot of stories about them. But other shrines with other Gods have different animals, such as statues of dogs or dragons. Thanks for asking :)

henny said...

Oh, I understand now. You know, people I have asked couldn't give me exact answer as most of them are non practicing. But they kept correcting me if I mistaken a shrine to a temple :). Thank you.

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