Photo By: Ben Kubota
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Nagoya
Population
7,043,235

Toyokawa Inari Shrine

Not to be outfoxed by her famous sister shrines, Aichi’s Toyokawa Inari shrine mesmerizes millions each year.

Toyokawa Inari Shrine is one of the crown jewels of the country’s central Chubu region. Located between the major cities of Nagoya and Shizuoka City, it’s one of Japan’s three big inari shrines. This stunning complex in Aichi Prefecture is comprised of nearly 100 buildings and is covered in beautiful stone fox statues.

Toyokawa Inari Shrine Aichi

Photo by: Brent Alvarez One of Japan’s three big inari shrines along with Fushimi Inari in Kyoto.

Founded in 1441, Toyokawa Inari Shrine is unique because it is both a Shinto and Buddhist shrine. It’s dedicated to both the Shinto fox god(dess) Inari Okami and the Buddhist protective deity Dakini Shinten. A priest by the name of Kangan Giin first beheld Dakini Shinten in a vision, riding atop a white fox while carrying rice and a “wish-fulfilling jewel,” according to the shrine’s history. The resulting carving, fashioned by Kangan himself in the 13th century, is housed today in the shrine’s main hall.

Shrine of a thousand foxes

Toyokawa Inari Shrine Aichi

Photo by: Brent Alvarez Pay your respects to the fox god.

After marveling at the carved front gate and main hall, make your way down the path to the right to explore the rest of the grounds. The Garden of Myogonji features a stunning koi pond and is also a favorite sunbathing spot for turtles and cats.

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Aichi

Tebasaki Fried chicken from Nagoya Japan
Leading from the garden to the border of the shrine is senbonnobori, a stone path lined with a thousand prayer flags. Hidden amongst the towering trees of this temple forest are dozens of smaller structures, including a three-story pagoda and Daikokuten hall which is dedicated to a god of good fortune. Try rubbing the stone statues that sit in front of Daikokuten hall for some good luck.

At the end of the path lies a sight as enchanting as it is enigmatic. Approximately 800 stone foxes, staring silently amidst a lush green forest. Reikozuka, known as the Shrine of a Thousand Foxes, was originally a place to worship the messenger of Inari. However, throughout the years, those who had their wishes fulfilled dedicated fox statues to the shrine.

Nostalgic Toyokawa

Toyokawa Inari Shrine Aichi

Photo by: Brent Alvarez Toyokawa Inari Shrine’s torii gate.

Toyokawa’s charm extends beyond the shrine and into the shotengai, or shopping district, that lies beyond its gates. Shops peddling souvenirs and handmade goods line the retro main street. Amongst all the things on offer, the one thing not to miss is inarizushi—the sweet tofu sushi is a favorite treat of the fox deities. Toyokawa is considered one of the birthplaces of this traditional dish, though its true origin is a bit hazy. No worries, your tastebuds won’t know the difference.

Trivia

Tebasaki Fried chicken from Nagoya Japan

5 Famous Foods You'll Find in Aichi

Do foxes like chicken wings? Surely you do. And if you don't, well you've never tried Aichi's famous tebasaki. Fix that ASAP.

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Things To Know

Hours and fees

The main gates leading into the shrine are open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The outer doors of the main hall are closed at 6 p.m. every evening. Amulets and goshuin (traditional shrine seals) can be purchased between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Admission is free, and parking is available nearby for ¥600.

How To Get There

Address

2 Toyokawachō, Toyokawa, Aichi 442-0033, Japan

By train

From Tokyo
Take the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) bound for Shin-Osaka at Tokyo Station. Switch to the Iida line at Toyohashi Station and get off at Toyokawa Station. From the station, it’s an eight-minute walk to Toyokawa Inari shrine.

From Nagoya
Take the Meitetsu Nagoya Main line bound for Toyohashi at Nagoya Station and get off at Toyokawa station.


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