On The Fox Trail……At Toyokawa Inari (Aichi)

After the slight disappointment of the Inari shrine centres in Osaka I was a little bit more apprehensive about visiting Toyokawa Inari whilst in Nagoya on a whistle-stop tour of the area. Discovering the night before that it was actually 90 minutes away from the city didn’t fill me with too much confidence either but as I woke up really early I thought I’d make the effort and I was ultimately glad I that I did.

img_1076 img_1077

A quick google search of the place before I checked out of my capsule hotel proved that an interesting experience would be in store. I took the 6:30 am Tokaido Line train to Toyokawa via a quick change at Toyohashi and was consequently at the temple shortly after 8am.

The formal name of the temple is Myōgon-ji and it was a ten minute walk down the road  from the station. This is the head branch for the other one is known as Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin and that can be found in Akasaka. Neither of them are shrines at all but are actually Buddhist temples which surprises just about everyone who associates torii gates with shrines.

img_1078 img_1079

It’s all fairly conventional with large guardian fox statues sat in front of the main hall (above) but if one heads to the right (which I imagine many people fail to do!) the place eventually opens up to a corridor of senbon-nobori (below) which is basically 1,000 white vertical banners covered with the prayers of visitors to the temple.

img_1081 img_1083  img_1105 dsc08483 img_1085 img_1086

This eventually leads you to the undoubted highlight of the temple, Reiko-zuka (fox spirit mound) which features hundreds and hundreds of stone fox statues.

img_1089 dsc08479 img_1087 img_1088 img_1090 img_1092 img_1093 img_1097

This is a power spot reputed to increase your luck with money and in the midst of all the red-bibbed sitting-pose foxes sits a massive boulder (below) with two larger foxes on top. Many coins have been thrown or placed in the gaps and crevices of the boulder by visitors hoping to become richer. It is believed that anyone managing to get one of the coins out should carry it as a lucky charm and they will one day become rich but should of course return and throw in more valuable coins.

img_1104 img_1098 img_1091 img_1103

There was a steady flow of visitors to this part of the temple and who knows what they must’ve thought when they saw a foreign guy with a tripod and camera who was not wearing a jacket! It was only about 8:30 and bitterly cold but I wanted to get amongst the foxes in the current (unlucky!) red Leicester away shirt.

dsc08481 dsc08480 img_1094 img_1095

There is an Autumn Festival at Toyokawa Inari with a procession involving two large white foxes (oversize masks borne on the shoulders of two men) with open mouths which devotees place money into as offerings of luck.

img_1102 img_1106

As I headed back to the station, the area was starting to wake up a bit and the shops were getting ready for opening with many selling the usual tourist tat as well as some furries as the Japanese call them!

img_1107 img_1108

The towns fox connection is recognised both inside and outside the station with statues.

img_1073 img_1109

Despite being much further out of town than I originally thought, I was very glad to have visited this temple whilst in that area of Japan. It was just after 10am that I arrived back in Nagoya to experience the sights and tastes which the city has to offer.

Click on the links below to read previous ‘On The Fox Trail……’ posts…

Zao Fox Village (Miyagi)              Fushimi-Inari Shrine (Kyoto)              Oji (Tokyo)              Saijo-Inari Shrine (Okayama)              Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin (Tokyo)              Osaka

About tokyofox

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

7 Responses to On The Fox Trail……At Toyokawa Inari (Aichi)

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

  2. Pingback: Nagoya Filming Locations – Mr Baseball (1992) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  3. Pingback: Sightseeing In Nagoya | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  4. Pingback: Sightseeing In Nagoya | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  5. Pingback: On The Fox Trail……At Kasama Inari Shrine (Ibaraki) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  6. Pingback: On The Fox Trail……In Haneda (Tokyo) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  7. Pingback: On The Fox Trail……At Motonosumi Inari Shrine (Yamaguchi) | 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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s