Taineiji is an old Zen temple in the mountains a little south of Nagato on the north Yamaguchi coast. We drove past the temple but stopped just after when we saw a vermillion bridge crossing the stream and decided to explore...
What we found was a branch temple of Toyonaka Inari, the second of the three great Inari Shrines of Japan, though in reality a temple up in Aichi. The branch temple was established here at Taineiji about 50 years ago,
It enshrines Dakiniten, a "buddhist" correlate of Inari, though it is unclear how much Inari is in Dakiniten or how much Dakiniten is in Inari. Originally a Hindu goddess Dakini became associated with the fox and she is often depicted riding a white fox.
Dakiniten was a powerful deity during the medieval period and this seems to be when the associations with kitsune grew.
Spent a long time chatting with one of the monks at the temple. He had spent a year at a monastery in Ireland and bemoaned the fact that while in Ireland he was treated with respect as a priest but that in japan he received much less respect.