Okayama 2016 Pt V: On The Fox Trail……At Saijo-Inari Shrine

This shrine didn’t feature in my Okayama guidebook and wasn’t high up the online lists of recommended places. However, I had read about Saijo-Inari Shrine in a book called ‘The Fox And The Jewel‘ by Karen A. Smyers which one lady very kindly sent me a copy of having read some of my fox/inari stuff on Tokyo Fox, particularly ‘On The Fox Trail……In Oji (Tokyo).

That heightened my interest a bit but I still wasn’t too sure about visiting it due to it’s location. It’s a bit out of the way but is in the vicinity of the Airport so knowing that I wouldn’t be returning to the airport to leave Okayama I decided that I would just take a taxi as soon as I landed.

IMG_7342  IMG_7371

Subsequently, I was already at Saijo Inari before 10am and the weather was absolutely sweltering. There really was nowhere to hide from the blazing sunshine in those early moments at the shrine.

IMG_7348  IMG_7346  IMG_7349  IMG_7350

My expectation was that it would be a fairly small shrine full of fox statues and that I’d be done within 30 minutes or so. As it was though, it was more like a poor-man’s Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto in terms of it stretching up the mountains. Whilst not a patch on that it did have it’s advantages though as during my whole time there I only saw a few people!

IMG_7343  IMG_7345

My early impressions of this place were quite disappointing. The shrine was covering a vast area but it wasn’t quite what I expected. I sure never thought it would be like Fushimi Inari but I did think it might be like other notable major centres of Inari worship in Tokyo such as Toyakawa Inari, Anamori Inari or Oji Inari.

IMG_7351  IMG_7353

As mentioned in ‘Okayama 2016 Pt IV…‘, the Japanese like to group things into three’s and Saijo-Inari Shrine is supposedly one of the three great Inari shrines but it seems that outside of the Kansai region there are local variations with differing results! The majority of these shrines are shinto ones dedicated to the Inari but this particular one in Okayama prefecture instead emphasises Buddhist teachings concerning the Lotus Sutra not that I have any idea what that’s all about!

IMG_7354  IMG_7356  IMG_7355  IMG_7357

If I had actually read more of the aforementioned book before my trip I may have learned that the main sanctuary is devoid of any fox imagery although the mini-pilgramage area and mountain do feature fox symbols.

IMG_7358  IMG_7359  IMG_7360  IMG_7362

Not knowing what I was letting myself in for, I started ascending the steps and eventually came to a fairly large rocky area overhanging some smaller shrines. I was already sweating quite a bit but by the time I made it to the lookout point on top of those rock the sweat was dripping off me. Not good when I knew it would be a long, long day with Washuzan Highland and Kurashiki (plus all the travelling!) still to squeeze in before I could take a shower/bath at the capsule hotel. Thankfully the panoramic views across the outskirts of Okayama city were reward enough!

IMG_7364  IMG_7365  IMG_7366  IMG_7368  IMG_7370  IMG_7373

On my arrival I realised that getting away from the place may be difficult and my theory was confirmed when I left and there was no sign of any waiting taxis. There were hardly any people other than one workman who I asked for directions to the bus stop. He pointed me in a direction and I followed it but found no bus stop so checked my maps app and saw that the nearest station at Bitchu Takamatsu was 37 minutes walk away. Not wanting to waste time and eager to get to Washuzan Highland Theme Park as soon as possible, my mind was immediately made up and I set off down the main road leading to the station. The giant torii gate in the distance was my guide not that I really needed one as it was a straight route all the way.

IMG_7376  IMG_7378  IMG_7379  IMG_7380

Click here to read ‘Okayama 2016 Pt VI: Naoshima’ 

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Japan Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Okayama 2016 Pt V: On The Fox Trail……At Saijo-Inari Shrine

  1. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt IV: Korakuen Gardens And Okayama-Jo Castle | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  2. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt VII: 007 Museum in Naoshima | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  3. Pingback: On The Fox Trail……At Toyakawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin (Tokyo) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  4. Pingback: On The Fox Trail……In Osaka | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  5. Pingback: Three Of A Kind: Dragon Torii Gates In Tokyo | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  6. Pingback: A Turtle-y Awesome Looking Station In Okayama Prefecture | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.