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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Taikodani Inari Shrine (Shimane) 太皷谷稲成神社

A major Inari fox shrine once for the sole use of castle lords, with a torii tunnel

One of the top five Inari shrines in Japan, Taikodani Inari Shrine draws a million visitors a year from far and wide thanks to its reputation for fulfilling wishes.

Founded in 1773 by the lords of the castle on the mountaintop above, this shrine was for the exclusive use of the ruling samurai until being opened to the public in the late 19th century.

Tips

  • More than 1,000 red shrine gates
  • Car blessing ceremonies
  • Fantastic views

How to Get There

You can get to the shrine by train and then a short walk or a taxi.

It's a 15-minute walk from Tsuwano Station, then a 10-minute walk up the hill.

Only a couple of minutes' walk from the main tourist street of Tonomachi, or a six-minute taxi ride from Tsuwano Station.

A red torii tunnel shows you the way

From the cluster of small, pretty shrines at the base, you ascend a path that zig-zags up the hillside through a virtual tunnel of red wooden torii, the traditional simple gate of Shinto shrines.

On the way up you pass numerous tiny shrines populated with white fox figurines, the messengers of the Inari deity, historically tied to the rice harvest. Once at the top, you enter a large platform surrounded by colorful building and dotted with pine trees.

Ceremony and ritual

Oharae, purification rituals, are taking place all through the day in the great main hall with its massive shimenawa, a rice straw rope that marks sacred space.

In other shrine buildings you may see Miko Mai, the elegant dance performed by shrine maidens. Take the steps down below the main platform to where cars and taxis can reach the shrine and see the purpose-built shrine where cars and their drivers are blessed in traffic-safety rituals.

Don't forget to try the traditional food

Big festivals take place here in the spring and autumn, marked by grand ceremonies and processions involving dozens of priests and shrine maidens in elaborate, colorful attire.

Eat traditional food like wild boar stew and watch Iwami Kagura performances.

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