Fushimi Inari Shrine: Generations
Layer After Layer after Layer of mini sub-shrines at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/350 sec, f/2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Layer After Layer after Layer
of mini sub-shrines
at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine

In my running set of posts about my visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine in south-east Kyoto, I showed the paths lined with thousands of gates that the shrine is famous for, but I ended the most recent installment – Fushimi Inari Shrine: Foxes, Treasure, and More with the teaser that there was so much more than just the gates.

We didn't have a map, so we took what turned out to be a side path that later looped back to the main path....

Anthony on a Side Path with his two “walking” sticks, that ended up being more for poking things than anything else -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/90 sec, f/4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Anthony on a Side Path
with his two “walking” sticks, that ended up being
more for poking things than anything else

It was great luck to take this side path, because in doing so we discovered a wonderful visual treasure: an area jam packed with a mishmash of a bazillion “sub shrines”.

As I speculated in my first post, it seems that each of these sub-shrines represents an Inari Shrine elsewhere in Japan, providing a physical presence for the real shrine here at the head Inari shrine. (“Inari” shrines being dedicated to business success, material wealth, and foxes, among other things.)

Mishmash of Old Sub-Shrines -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Mishmash of Old Sub-Shrines

This small area was just packed with history. You could see generation after generation after generation of additions as it was expanded over time. It's all nestled in the middle of the mountains, so expansion often involved constructing stairs and carving out a flat terrace.

Some of it looked as if it had been completed yesterday – very modern, with proper drainage and smooth, polished cut stone – but more often than not it looked to be hundreds of years old. The photo above shows some very weathered stones.

Relatively Modern Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Relatively Modern Area
Everywhere, Foxes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Everywhere, Foxes

It's an incredibly visually-rich area. Anthony ran around and explored as I tried to see what I could capture photographically, but his attention span matches his age (five years old), so I didn't have much time.

Gate of Stone -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/3.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Gate of Stone

In looking over the photos when I got home, I was struck by how often the sense of scale was totally lost in the photo. For example, the gate in the photo above is about a foot or so tall, with the center plaque thing being about the size of a deck of cards. (You can also see it in the center of the “Relatively Modern Area” photo above.)

On the other hand, the gate in the center of this next photo is huge, with life-sized horses flanking it...

Large Sub-Shrine with horses, no less -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Large Sub-Shrine
with horses, no less

At least I think the horses were life sized... they really look like toys in the photo, so I'm not 100% sure.

Near the entrance to the area was a large map showing the location of sub shrines by number...

Sub-Shrine Locator Map showing a sense of clarity and order that is wholly obscured by reality -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 35 mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Sub-Shrine Locator Map
showing a sense of clarity and order that is wholly obscured by reality

The map shows no indication of the visual chaos that envelops the site. The map is boring. The site is amazing.

Not Boring -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 35 mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Boring
Nope, Not Boring -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.6, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Nope, Not Boring
Sub-Shrine Piled With “Offering Gates” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/90 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sub-Shrine Piled With “Offering Gates”
Lotsa' Foxes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Lotsa' Foxes

Of course, this is Japan, so any area of beauty or interest must be marred with lots of wires, utility poles, etc. It's the law.

Par For the Course sigh -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Par For the Course
sigh

Continued here...


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Keep the kitsune coming!
I have loved these statues since I “discovered” them on the Corbis site long time ago.

— comment by Carlos Perez on June 20th, 2008 at 10:04am JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Why do the foxes seem to have bibs tied on as if ready to dine?

I haven’t the slightest clue, but I, too, would like to know. —Jeffy

— comment by Grandma Friedl on June 20th, 2008 at 9:02pm JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I love the first shot in this post, layer after layer. Nice work.

— comment by Jon Van Dalen on June 22nd, 2008 at 1:44am JST (9 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

The red bibs are an offering to the kitsune (which are the messengers of the God Inari) and they mean that you’re willing to clothe them, keeping them warm.

The male fox, Osusuki, holds the key to the granary in his mouth and his mate, Akomachi, holding the wishing stone.

— comment by Pattie on October 5th, 2008 at 6:45am JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Whoops! I’m sorry. I should have started with: DANG! Amazing pictures!!!!

My bad. ^__^

— comment by Pattie on October 5th, 2008 at 7:51am JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink
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