Taikodani Inari-jinja Shrine 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-jinja 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.
- More than 1,000 red shrine gates
- Four points of worship
- 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 the 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 pure water of the Tsuwano River, at the base of the castle mountain, 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, believed to be the messengers of the Inari deity, historically tied to the rice harvest. Once at the top, you enter a large platform surrounded by colorful buildings and dotted with pine trees.
Ceremony and ritual
Oharai, the purification rituals, take place throughout the day in the great main hall with its massive shimenawa, a rice straw rope that marks sacred space.
In the shrine buildings you may see Mikomai, 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 purifying stage 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, such as wild boar stew, and watch Iwami Kagura performances.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.