Today I visited Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is located in the southern part of Kyoto.
Fushimi Inari Shrine has a long history of 1300 years. It was originally revered as the deity of agriculture. With industrialization, the deity of Fushimi Inari gradually came to be worshiped as the deity of business, too. There are about 30,000 Inari shrines in Japan and this is their headquarters.
The most appealing is its thousand red torii gates. They are all donations from all over Japan. You can see the donor's name and the date in the back of each torii gate. Torii gate is supposed to be a barrier against evil spirits.
Today I visited there to participate for the first time in the Fire Festival.After the ritual at the sanctuary hall, the Fire Festival started from two o'clock. The festival is held to thank for the harvest and to remove uncleanliness by burning wooden strips. During the festival, people chant words of purification in chorus in a serious way.
The wind blew strongly from time to time and we were all in the white smoke. I feel purification is like being smoked. But it's a truly Japanese experience.