Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha

English | Japanese

At Fushimi Inari Taisha, there are many stone fox statues. Foxes are considered to be messengers and kenzoku of the Inari Okami. These foxes are not the actual foxes found in the wild, but are spirit foxes that convey wishes to the Inari Okami, and are known as transparent Byakko. This article will explain the types of stone fox statues present at Fushimi Inari Taisha and what the foxes are holding in their mouths.

For a comprehensive overview of the entire Fushimi Inari Taisha, please refer to 「Highlights and access methods of Fushimi Inari Taisha (Kyoto Prefecture)」.

Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(0)

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What the Foxes at Fushimi Inari Taisha are Holding

At Fushimi Inari Taisha, there are many fox statues, each holding something in its mouth (though some foxes are not holding anything). The items held by these foxes are "rice stalks," "keys to rice granaries," "jeweled orbs," and "scrolls," each of which has a connection to the Inari Okami.

What the Foxes at Fushimi Inari Taisha are Holding: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(1)

There seem to be various theories about the meanings of these four items.

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha

Now, let's take a look at the stone fox statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha in order.

Fox Statue at the Entrance of Fushimi Inari Taisha

First is the fox statue at the entrance of Fushimi Inari Taisha, located to the right of the first torii gate. It is holding a "rice stalk" in its mouth.

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(2)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(3)

Fox Statues at the Roumon

Next are the fox statues in front of the Roumon. The one on the left side is holding the "key to the rice granary," and the one on the right is holding a "jeweled orb."

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(4)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(6)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(6)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(7)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(8)

Fox Statues in Front of the Honden

Next are the fox statues in front of the Honden. The one on the left side is holding a "rice stalk," and the one on the right is not holding anything.

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(9)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(10)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(11)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(12)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(13)

Fox Statues at the Torii Gate to the Left of the Honden

Next are the fox statues at the torii gate to the left of the Honden. The one on the left side is holding a "scroll," and the one on the right is holding a "jeweled orb."

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(14)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(15)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(31)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(16)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(32)

Fox Statues in Front of Teichouan

Next are the fox statues located in front of Teichouan. The one on the left side is holding a "rice stalk," and the one on the right is not holding anything.

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(17)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(18)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(19)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(20)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(21)

Fox Statues in the Back of Teichouan

Next are the fox statues located at the back of Teichouan. The one on the left side is holding the "key to the rice granary," and the one on the right is holding a "jeweled orb."

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(22)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(23)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(24)

Fox Statues in Front of the Stairs to the Shinme-sha

Next are the fox statues located in front of the stairs near the Shinme-sha. The one on the left side is holding a "scroll," and the one on the right is holding a "jeweled orb."

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(25)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(26)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(27)

Fox Statues in Front of the Torii Gates Leading to Senbon Torii

Next are the fox statues located in front of the torii gates leading to the Senbon Torii. The one on the left side is holding a "scroll," and the one on the right is holding a "jeweled orb."

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(28)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(29)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(30)

Fox Statues at Ganrikisha

Near the summit, at Ganrikisha, there is a hand-water basin featuring a fox. In this case, the fox is not holding anything in its mouth; instead, a "jeweled orb" is placed on its head.

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(33)

Stone Fox Statues of Fushimi Inari Taisha: Complete Guide to the Stone Fox Statues at Fushimi Inari Taisha(34)

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Thank you for reading to the end.

( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )