Friday, June 20, 2008
day 172 - Fushimi-Inari 2 (but that's another torii...)
The fox was - and is - considered to be the messenger of Inari, the god of cereals, notably rice. The cylinder in the mouth is the key to the rice granary. So foxes are sacred and able to possess humans (often entering through the finger nails). The foxes are also referred to as Inari and there are countless statues of them, augmented daily by thousands of miniatures which are left as offerings. (See Tsuwano.)
Walking through the undisturbed sugi and bamboo forest you can easily forget that the hill is surrounded by the city of Kyoto and environs - until you reach the top and see the burbs below...