Shrines

Today, I went to the south of Kyoto together with Hai Minh, a Vietnamese master’s student in physics. You can see some pictures below 🙂

First, we went to Fushimi Inari, then to Daihonzan Tofukuji (if I’m not mistaken, forgot to write down the name) and lastly to Sanjusangendo. Sanjusangendo is only the last picture, because it was not allowed to take pictures inside. Inside, they had a thousand statues of Kannon, a goddess. You can find some pictures online, if you search for the name of the temple.

Fushimi Inari has many statues of foxes (in Japanese: kitsune) holding a ball, key or scroll. The key and scroll represent the key to the rice granary, while the ball represents the fox’s power or soul. It is said that foxes can shape-shift to any form in nature (so also people), and have many more magical abilities. The ball is the only thing they can carry in their fox shape. If you ever see a picture of a fox with two or more tails, the number of tails indicates how powerful the fox is. Nine is the highest number.

Also, Fushimi Inary has many orange gates behind one another and many small shrines. I still don’t know why orange is always used in temples, shrines and other monuments. The names on these gates and shrines are persons and companies who paid for them.

Yes, the following pictures are very random:

  • If you see a picture of blue gravel: I just thought the metal grid under it was clever 🙂 If you look closely, you can see the metal pins sticking up from the gravel and you see the lines of the grid in the picture.
  • You can see a picture with wishes written down on fox-shaped woorden cards. People will buy the cards and write down wishes. The French one says something like “To find someone to love who will love me the same and for a long time.” I only had to check ‘autant’, but I was right. Yay me 😉
  • We were wondering what the tree trumps that were covered by plastic were for. The most plausible explanation: In winter, it’s used as firewood and has to be kept dry? I’m not sure…
  • Upon seeing the horse statue and carrots, I of course had to tell the story of Sinterklaas to Hai Minh 😛