Monday, October 4, 2010
Kiyomizudera, like most religious sites in traditional Japan, worshipped buddhas and kami, they were shrine-temple complexes, so its not unusual to find shrines in the grounds of a temple. Kiyomizudera has an Inari shrine.
Of course, wherever you find an Inari shrine you find foxes, the messengers of Inari.
All the kitsune (foxes) at Kiyomizudera wore vermillion scarves on their heads.
Officially, by government decree, Inari is now equated with Ukanomitama, an offspring of Susano and connected with food. The head shrine of Inari is the famous Fushimi Inari near Kyoto founded by the powerful immigrant clan the Hata. Inari shrines are the most common shrines in all of Japan and its identity has many facets, including Dakini, a buddhist deity with Hindu and Tantric roots.