Fushimi Inari

Number 1 most visited shrine in Japan by foreigners according to TripAdvisor 2014, 2015, and 2016?

Fushimi Inari! It is popular among foreigners for the mountain trails that lead into Mount Inari, considered sacred in Shinto.img_5223

It is known for its multitudes of brilliant red torii gates and dozens of fox statues— torii gates marking the border between mundane and sacred;img_5236fox statues regarded as the god’s messenger and the keys in the fox’s mouth are for granaries.img_5213

In the 8th century, even before Japan’s capital moved to Kyoto, this shrine was built and dedicated by the Hata clan to the Shinto rice and sake god, Inari. Inari later became regarded as the general patron god for business. Enterprises and individuals from all over Japan were the ones who donated the 10,000 torii gates (ranging from JPY400,000 for a small to JPY1 million+ for a large) around the shrine, a custom which began during the Edo period (1603 – 1868) to fund a wish into fulfillment or as gratitude for a wish that was fulfilled.  The donor’s name is inscribed on the back of each donated gate.

Fushimi Inari is the main Inari shrine for some 40,000 more smaller versions around Japan.

From 1871 – 1946, this shrine enjoyed the status of Kanpei-taisha  which means that it had #1 rank among government supported shrines.

It is said that Japanese people sometimes go to both Shinto shrines as well as Buddhist temples because one of the gods does not like suffering.  Therefore, they are able to come to the Shinto shrine for funerals and other sad occasions and they are able to go to the Buddhist temple for birthdays and other happy occasions.

From the side entrance into Fushimi Inari, there is a row of food vendors selling local food specialties including cooked sparrows and quail!

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As I enjoyed my tour of the Number One most popular shrine for foreigners in Japan and have time to reflect, I couldn’t help but be thankful for certain things:

1. We have an available God of the Bible who hears not only the prayers of those who can afford to donate gates but everyone who puts his faith in Jesus Christ can access the Father directly.

Joh 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

and God is not corrupt who would only grant wishes to the highest bidders. Instead, He is holy and will do what is right.

Deuteronomy 10:17 says “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”
Romans 2:11 says that He does not play favourites, shows no partiality, for He is no respecter of persons.

Otherwise, what if we find ourselves in a season without resources to pay for a wish to be fulfilled. Or what if a competitor outbid our donation?

Joh 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2. This direct access to God removes the need for messengers like a fox.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

specially since the fox is inanimate 

Psalm 115:4b- 7 They are work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.

while God’s power is far above all rule, authority, power and dominion not only in the present age but also in the one to come (Eph 1:21)

3. We have an available God of the Bible who holds all power over everything. We don’t have to go to a different small god for every branch of our lives (one for business,  one for pregnancy, one for weather, etc)  but we can go to the God of All.

Eph 1:20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church

4. We have an available God of the Bible who is an all-occasion God (happy and suffering times)

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

5. Jesus understands our suffering because He Himself went through suffering. He helps us in our weakness and leads us to overcome.

Heb 2:18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
Rom 8:37 in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

6. We do not need to go to a specific building through a specific train to find the available God of the Bible.

Jeremiah 23:23 GNT I am everywhere–both near and far
1Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the HolySpirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands

7. For the believer in the God of the Bible, what is mundane is sacred when done for the glory of God, with no need for a gate to mark the transition

1 Cor 10:31 (whatever you do, do it for the glory of God) and Rom 12:1 (whatever you do that you offer to God forms part of your worship).

Previous post: Mundane is Sacred

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Thank You, Lord, for making Yourself available to us at all times for all purposes wherever we are.

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