Shinto shrines are everywhere here in Japan. Literally, everywhere. It is kind of amazing, because you will be in a very modern area and hidden in a corner will be a Shinto shrine. In fact, I never even looked up information about Shinto shrines because I always found them on my own.
After a field trip with the kindergarteners to a katsuobushi factory, we took all of the kids to a nearby park to eat a snack and play a little bit. The weather was amazing and the kids had done a really good job following directions and being safe in the factory, so it was a good chance to let them run loose for a little while. We also probably smelled pretty fishy, so the fresh air was much needed!
They were very amused by the pole. I think they spent the majority of their time going down it like a fireman. Coincidentally, a fire truck pulled up next to the park and waved to the kids.
The kids were adorable, but I was more intrigued with the Shinto shrine that I found hiding in the corner of the park. This shrine was a little different than the ones I usually see. The red torii gate was made from metal instead of wood or stone. It was rusting pretty badly.
It looked in a pretty bad shape. I was a little surprised, because the upkeep on the shrines that I had seen were usually really new and clean looking. Presentation is so important here. The rest of the shrine was in tip top shape, however.
The shrine had a statue of a fox, a common statue at Shinto shrines for the Inari deity of rice. This deity represents worldly success and prosperity. The principal noticed that I was studying the shrine and gave me some background, which was really nice of her!
This shrine is maintained by the local restaurants in this area, and is where they make their offerings in hopes of gaining success for their business.
As usual, natural elements are definitely at play here. I really admired the texture of the rocks and their placement. Fascinating!
A small box houses the deity, guarded by two foxes. Someone had left fresh bundles of flowers and a few containers of sake as an offering. Fried tofu is said to be a favorite offering to this deity in particular. There was also a small box where worshippers could drop coins, but I’m not sure what the money is used for. Upkeep perhaps?
I do not practice their faith, but I believe it is important to understand other faiths to truly understand and affirm your belief in your own. A lot of the shrines are like works of art, with the preservation of nature.
Just a little slice of my day. What do you think of this Shinto shrine?