Shirobatake Inari Shrine: A Mystical Fox’s Wedding Procession
Shirobatake Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Nihonbashi-Honcho, Chuo Ward, Tokyo, Japan.
- Address: 4-5-16 Nihonbashi-Honcho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0021
- Phone Number: N/A
- Access: 3-minute walk from Shin-Nihombashi Station on the JR Sobu Line, or 4-minute walk from Kanda Station on the JR Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Chuo Line, and Sobu Line
- Festival Days: Hatsumoude (First Shrine Visit of the Year) is held on the first day of the Ox (first day of the first month of the lunar calendar)
Main Events and Attractions of the Festival
The main event of the Shirobatake Inari Shrine Festival is the Hatsumoude (First Shrine Visit of the Year), which is held on the first day of the Ox (first day of the first month of the lunar calendar). During this time, many people visit the shrine to pray for good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
Hatsumoude (First Shrine Visit of the Year)
Hatsumoude is a significant annual event in Japan where people visit shrines and temples to pray for good fortune and express gratitude for the past year. At Shirobatake Inari Shrine, visitors can participate in various rituals and activities associated with Hatsumoude, such as:
- 参拝 (Sanpai): Bowing and clapping twice before the main shrine to show respect and offer prayers.
- おみくじ (Omikuji): Drawing a fortune slip to receive guidance and advice for the year ahead.
- 絵馬 (Ema): Writing wishes and prayers on wooden plaques and hanging them at the shrine.
- お守り (Omamori): Purchasing amulets and talismans for good luck and protection.
During the festival, a traditional獅子舞 (Shishimai) or lion dance is performed. This lively and energetic dance is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. The獅子舞 is typically performed by two people, with one person wearing a lion head and the other person operating the body of the lion.
A variety of露店 (Yatai) or food stalls are set up during the festival, offering a wide range of delicious Japanese street food and snacks. Visitors can enjoy popular dishes such as takoyaki (octopus balls), yakisoba (fried noodles), and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet red bean paste).
Blessings and Deities
Shirobatake Inari Shrine is dedicated to the deity Ukanomitama no Kami, the god of food, agriculture, and industry. Inari shrines are widely revered in Japan for their association with prosperity and good fortune, and Shirobatake Inari Shrine is no exception. Many people visit the shrine to pray for success in business, bountiful harvests, and overall prosperity.
- Deity: Ukanomitama no Kami (god of food, agriculture, and industry)
- Benefits: Prosperity, good fortune, success in business, bountiful harvests
Origin and History
The exact origins of Shirobatake Inari Shrine are unknown, but it is believed to have been founded during the Edo period (1603-1868). According to legend, the shrine was established by a man named Shirobei, who was saved from a storm by a white fox. In gratitude, Shirobei built a small shrine to Inari, the god of foxes, on the site where he was rescued. Over time, the shrine grew in popularity and became a place of worship for local residents.
- Founded: Edo period (1603-1868)
- Founder: Shirobei (according to legend)
- Reason for Founding: Shirobei was saved from a storm by a white fox and built a shrine to Inari in gratitude.
Tips and Notes for Visitors
If you plan to visit Shirobatake Inari Shrine during the Hatsumoude festival, it is important to arrive early to avoid large crowds. The shrine is open 24 hours a day, but the main festival events typically take place in the morning. It is also important to be respectful of the shrine’s customs and traditions. When entering the shrine, be sure to wash your hands and rinse your mouth at the chozuya (purification fountain). When praying at the main shrine, bow twice, clap twice, and then bow once again.
- Arrive early to avoid crowds during Hatsumoude.
- The shrine is open 24 hours a day.
- Main festival events typically take place in the morning.
- Be respectful of the shrine’s customs and traditions.
- Wash your hands and rinse your mouth at the chozuya before entering the shrine.
- When praying at the main shrine, bow twice, clap twice, and then bow once again.
Unfortunately, Shirobatake Inari Shrine does not have its own parking lot. However, there are several public parking lots located nearby. The closest parking lot is the Nihonbashi-Honcho Parking Lot, which is located just a short walk from the shrine. Other nearby parking lots include the Kanda Parking Lot and the Mitsukoshi Parking Lot.
- Shirobatake Inari Shrine does not have its own parking lot.
- Closest parking lot: Nihonbashi-Honcho Parking Lot
- Other nearby parking lots: Kanda Parking Lot, Mitsukoshi Parking Lot
Popular Stalls and Food Carts in Recent Years
|Type of Stall
|A staple at Japanese festivals. Characterized by a crispy outside and a creamy inside.
|A simple yet popular snack of hot potatoes lavishly topped with melted butter.
|Small castella cakes, sweet and fluffy treats enjoyed by children and adults alike.
|Grilled Ayu with Salt
|Fresh ayu fish grilled whole with salt, a savory taste of Japanese summer.
|A unique gourmet item influenced by foreign cuisine, with a chewy skin wrapping the filling.
|A Japanese grilled dish where you often choose your own ingredients for a personalized flavor.
|A fluffy, sweet snack that’s extremely popular with children.
|A banana coated in chocolate, a fun and visually appealing dessert.
|Various types of ingredients skewered and grilled, an easy-to-enjoy snack.
|Fried noodles mixed with a special sauce, a fast food favorite in Japan.