One of the comments in the last ‘On The Fox Trail…’ post alerted me to this wonderful shrine in Kanagawa Prefecture. Despite having been to Kamakura on numerous occasions over the years I was completely oblivious to the fox shrine so a big thanks to Mister Malcontent for introducing it to me. It seems that it’s quite famous but in an area littered with dozens and dozens (hundreds??) of shrines and temples it’s maybe all too easy to miss out on a few interesting ones.
Ever since finding out about it I have been wanting to go and see it with my own eyes but I didn’t really feel like making a trip to Kamakura just to see this one place. A trip to my parents-in-law’s place on the second day of my August holiday provided the opportunity to stop off en-route. Sasuke Inari Shrine is located between Kamakura and Kita Kamakura Stations with it being slightly closer to the former.
It was over 35 degrees when I got to this shrine and I was dripping with sweat as I ascended the steps but such feelings were slightly curtailed by the sight of a beautiful tunnel of red torii gates gently winding their way up to something far less pleasing on the eye!
Construction work is the worst sight for any visitor to a place they really want to see and my heart sank at first given the effort I’d made to get there.
Thankfully, it didn’t seem to effect too much of what I wanted to see and I continued on the ascend where moments later I came across this wonderful garden area which was full of small white porcelain foxes, moss-covered miniature shrines (resembling cute little huts!), rocks and red banners amidst greenery.
That wasn’t the end though as just a short distance further along the hiking trail were some more randomly scattered little foxes. They seemed to be placed in every nook and cranny of the rock-face and there were some tiny torii gates too.
Just a few metres away from there was the highlight of this shrine.
Surrounded by dense forest canopy, there was a little fenced-off area featuring the main hall with a kind of book-case structure on either side of that displaying hundreds and hundreds of white fox ornaments. With a big torii gate at the front, wooden ema plaques, flags and stone lanterns too, it was all quite the spectacle.
It’s quite surprising that this shrine has escaped my attention for all these years particularly as the popular Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine is located just round the corner from it. Kamakura Daibutsu, the area’s number one attraction, is just a 20 minute walk south of the shrine too.
Sasuke Inari Shrine is actually a branch shrine of the Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto and is where people go to pray for professional fortune. It was built in the 12th century and is quite well-hidden. It did have something of an eerie atmosphere for a few moments before the sound of the construction workers and their machines put a swift end to that!
- Sasuke Inari Shrine is located at 2-22-10 Sasuke, Kamakura-Shi, Kanagawa-Ken.
Bonus: The bonus feature in last Summer’s ‘…Most Hidden Shrine‘ post briefly mentioned that Sweets Paradise were selling a whole host of cakes resembling dishes like ramen, gyoza, tanuki and kitsune. The latter has two meanings. One is fox and the other is the name for udon noodles in hot dashi soup topped with aburaage that’s been cooked in a sweet and salty sauce.
Only a select amount of each are made for sale each day and the price is a little high though not totally unreasonable if shared out with friends. I just thought these cakes were part of a limited sale for that particular season as is often customary in Japan. However, when I passed by the shop a couple of months ago I was surprised to see they were still available. Not only that but they had added a mini kitsune cake to the menu for 700 yen. A regular cake in this shop is around 300-400 yen so this one was only double rather than four times the price! Thankfully the taste just about matched the price!
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 Toyokawa Inari (Aichi) Kasama Inari Shrine (Ibaraki) Haneda (Tokyo) Motonosumi Inari Shrine (Yamaguchi) The Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre The Oji Fox Parade (Tokyo) Keihin Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kanagawa) Tokyo’s Most Hidden Shrine Tokyo Hedgehog Cafe! Takekoma-Jinja Shrine (Miyagi) Takayama Inari-Jinja Shrine (Aomori) Jozan Inari Jinja Shrine (Matsue)