Anamori Inari Shrine
The fox shrine in Tokyo.
Ever had an hour to kill before your next flight in Tokyo and wondered what to do with it? Sure, you could spend it duty-free shopping, or you could head a little way back into town to see something amazing. Luckily for people interested in the latter, Anamori Inari Shrine, a peaceful place with lots to see, is only a 6-minute train ride from Tokyo Haneda Airport.
Well, maybe you will need a generous hour to see everything… While the temple is close to the station, the route to it is poorly signposted and involves lots of walking down nondescript side roads. Luckily these roads are worthwhile, as they are filled with excellent wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) for you to try out.
In much the same way as the nearby streets are worth getting lost in (if you have the time), the shrine itself also deserves some exploring. Its precincts are dotted with oyashiro – miniature shrines – that are accessed through a corridor of torii (Japanese gateways). Each of these oyashiro are dedicated to different blessing that the visitors can receive. The range of potential blessings is vast, covering everything from economic fortune to success in exams.
Anamori Inari is your typical shrine with a fun twist, as the oyashiro are covered with sacred fox statues, locally known as kitsune. While foxes are known for their love of mischief, they are also said to possess magical abilities and wisdom. Even if you are not looking for a blessing, you will definitely have fun looking at all the hundreds of different fox statues.
While the temple’s oyashiro are a great place to acquire some good mojo, people who need some extra luck – always useful before a trip – often take a small bag filled with o-suna (sacred sand) home with them for round-the-clock prosperousness. The sand from Anamori Inari Shrine is well-known for its lucky properties and it’s said that simply having some will grant prayers and bring you good luck.
For a small shrine so conveniently located close to the airport, Anamori Inari is well-worth the short trip. In no time at all, you can have a uniquely Japanese experience, kill some time and best of all, go home with some magical omiyage (Japanese souvenirs) that will make your life better. A far better prospect than hours of boring duty-free shopping!