In 1925, the Shiratama Inari Shrine relocated from Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine to Tokyo and became the main shrine for the Japanese god Oinari-san. The current shrine in Chinzanso was renovated in 1989.
Oinari-san is the Japanese god of foxes, rice, and general prosperity, and one of the main spirits of Shintoism. Because there are often many fox statues at an Inari shrine, many believe that Oinari-san is a fox. However, according to legend, the foxes are actually the clever messengers of Oinari-san. Like the pigeons at Hachiman Shrine, the crows at Kumano Shrine, and the deer at Kasuga Taisha, animals are sacred beings that connect the realms of humans with the spirits. People of the Middle Ages believed that it was highly disrespectful to beseech God for human desires directly, so they delivered their prayers through these select animals. Even today, these animals are still called “Messengers of the gods.”