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Goin’ Japanesque!

Motonosumi Inari Shrine: The Amazing View of the Torii Selected by CNN

The bright colored torii gates almost remind you of the 1,000 torii of Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine. This location is the tourist destination getting all the attention right now. It was selected by CNN as one of “Japan’s 31 most beautiful places” in 2015. Today, we show you the history of this shrine and some unique features about the shrine that make it different from other shrines.


About the Motonosumi Inari Shrine


It is a shrine in Nagato of Yamaguchi Prefecture that worships the white fox. In 2015 it was selected as one of “Japan’s 31 most beautiful places” and now it has grown in fame on par with the world heritage sites of Itsukushima Shrine, Kinkakuji, Gokayama, Himejijo Castle, Tottori Sand Dunes and Adachi Museum of art. Before it received this recognition, it was a shrine that was rarely known in Japan outside of the local people. It is now becoming more and more recognized; however, no doubt it still remains a hideaway spot that is far from being famous.

The origin of the shrine goes back to one night in 1955. A white fox appeared in the dreams of a local fisherman. His message was “You owe your thanks for having been able to fish in these areas, have a religious ceremony in my name”, and so they went to the Taikodani Inari Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, had the division of the shrine’s deity shared for them. It may interest you to know that the original shrine for the Taikodani Inari Shrine is the Kyoto Fushimi Shrine.


Unique Characteristics of the Motonosumi Inari Shrine

1. The Vibrant Scene of Torii in a Row

Indeed the biggest highlight is the captivating row of vermillion torii. There are 123 torii in a stretch of over 100 meters, heading toward the ocean. The torii was dedicated from 1987 over the course of 10 years, and the dedication stopped when they had 123 (hifumi), which is considered an auspicious number.

In fact the mascot character for the Japanese lessons we offer is also called Hifumi. Her name is also taken from this lucky number.

2. Inari is Written as 稲成 Not the Standard稲荷

All over Japan, there currently are over 40,000 shrines with association to Inari. Among them, the only shrines that use the kanji稲成 to represent Inari, is this Motonosumi Inari Shrine and the Taikodani Inari Shrine of Tottori Prefecture.

3. The Most Challenging Donation Box in Japan

When you go through the torii and climb further up…

In the end there is a large torii…

There is the deity of this shrine, the white fox depicted there. And if you look even closer…there’s a donation box way up there! The donation box is in a strange place, 5 meters above you. It’s believed that if you can successfully toss money into the box, your wishes will come true. We haven’t confirmed that it is the most difficult in Japan, but in any case, it is a very unique donation box. 

Though small, this Motonosumi Inari Shrine is said to be efficacious toward a wide variety of things and it is said that if you can successfully toss the money in the box and make a wish, any kind of wish is granted. Therefore, all the visitors make repeated attempts.  


Where To Take Your Scenic Photo

If you stand by the torii with the donation box we introduced earlier, and look down you see an amazingly beautiful scene with three contrasting colors; the blue of the sky and sea, the natural green and the vermillion of the torii. The ocean by Yamaguchi Prefecture has been long famous for the clean and clear waters.

Also, the precipice that can be seen in the back; you will see extraordinary strong waves hit up against it. It is a nationally recognized natural treasure. If you are there at the right timing, you will be able to include the dynamic splashing water of over 30 meters in height in your snapshot.

If you’re lucky and get your money in the donation box, take the opportunity to go ahead and click!


Oidemase (means welcome in the Yamaguchi dialect) to see the brilliantly vermillion Motonosumi Inari Shrine of Yamaguchi Prefecture! Information: Map

CNN’s “Dream Destinations for 2014”: The Great Wisteria Festival Begins! Visit the Most Mystical Flower Park in Japan! – Ashikaga Flower Park

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