Temple called Toyokawa Inari
Normally, ”Inari” is associated with Shinto shrines that deify foxes. However, Toyokawa Inari is a Buddhist temple with the official name, Myogon-ji. Then how come it is called Toyokawa Inari? This is because Toyokawa Inari enshrines the god of happiness and prosperity, ”Dakini Shinten”, who carries stalks of rice on his shoulder (the word ”Inari” also means ”carrying stalks of rice”).
The legend of Zen priest Tokai Gieki and Heihachiro Inari
The connection of Toyokawa Inari and foxes derives from the legend of an old man visiting the Zen priest Tokai Gieki, the founder of the temple. The old man, Heihachiro, worked diligently serving Gieki as a servant, preparing food and tea, which seemed impossible for such an old man to do all alone. Gieki was puzzled and questioned Heihachiro who answered ”I have 301 kinsmen who work for me.”, which were in fact the foxes. The old man was honored as Heihachiro Inari, and memorial services in his name are still held as a part of the temple’s main festival even to this day. More than a thousand statues of foxes adorn the mound for the spirits of the foxes. It is an overwhelming sight. Toyokawa Inari is indeed a ”temple” where ”inari” foxes are enshrined.
- Toyokawa Kaku Myogon-ji Temple (Toyokawa Inari)
- 1 Toyokawa, Toyokawa city, Aichi
- URL http://toyokawainari.jp/