Friday, January 29, 2010


At the end of my hike I found the temple Zeniaraibenzaiten. A magical place contained within a rocky canyon, entrance via a tunnel chipped out of the sandstone bedrock. Washing your money there is meant to double your money- I only took a small chance and washed about 800 yen, which I spent on fox charms at the next shrine. Workmen were replacing some of the timber gates.

I headed off to the next closest temple, which was Sasukeinarijinja, devoted to the god Inari who is represented (?) or associated (?) with foxes. These are fast become my favourite Shinto shrines. The foxes are believed to be the mediator between the spirit world and this world. The fox at the edge of the forest being especially auspicious. This means that at the beginning of each hike there are shrines to Inari. They are relatively small and modest and often at the edge among trees at large shrine complexes. With my Australian baggage, as foxes are man introduced and maintained, or contained, pests, the concept of them being an “in-between” of the “human” and “animal” resonates with me. I always take a moment and stop at the fox statues and give part of myself up to nature.

Also they are just beautiful spots, with red gates and flags. Red and green was a bit of theme at the Hotel New Kamakura too. The bottom shot above in the Inari shrine at Tsurugaoka hachimangu (pictured in two shots above- at the end of a really long walkway planted with cherry trees, current lit with the paper lanterns- 3rd shot above). I wandered round that shrine after dinner enjoying the darkness and spot-lit landscape and marvelled about how relaxed you can be in this country.

More shots here on flickr

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