Mabashi Inari Shrine is located in the middle of the JR Chuo Line between Koenji Station and Asagaya Station. People claim that this shrine was founded in the Kamakura era, however it is not known for sure.
The Mabashi Inari Shrine is located in a residential area and brings a sense of unity to the residents who live there. As you approach the shrine, you will find that the entrance is lined with three grand torii gates. The first torii is made of wood, which is rarely done in modern times. Because this shrine sits is in a residential area, it feels dramatically big.
The second torii gate is one of “the three famous torii gates of Tokyo.” The large, stone torii gate has carvings of dragons to each side, with one climbing and one drowning. It is believed that if you make a wish while touching the rising dragon, then the dragon will deliver your wish to heaven to be granted.
The third torii is called the “middle” torii and was made the most recently out of the three torii gates.
After you pass all three of the torii gates, you will discover the temizuya (hand washing basin) on the left side. This temizuya is very unique in comparison with other temizuya because the spout comes from a large blue stone. Also, according to people at the shrine, the water is natural water that is stored in the basement 50m below and kept at about 15 degrees throughout the year.
After you have cleansed at the temizuya, you will pass through the Zuishinmon (gate for worshipping the deity to prevent the invasion of evil spirits into sanctuary). Hung from the ceiling of the Zuishinmon Gate is a huge bell. This bell suppresses those demons and bad spirits. This is Tokyo’s largest bell of luck, and when it is hit using your hand while making a wish under the bell, good luck is brought upon you. When the sound of the bell echoes, it is signaling that the wish has reached the heavens. Until you hear the echoing sound, hit the bell with your hand many times.
On the left side of the shrine, the image of a fox is found. This is called “the Shinto prayer fox.” If you write a wish on a strip of paper it has been said that the fox will deliver the wish to the Inari God. It is possible to buy the special strips of paper in the shrine office.
Every four years, the Mabashi Inari Shrine holds a festival. This year, 2016, is one of those years. By visit of the Miya Mikoshi(Portable Shrine), the festival for the Mabashi Inari Shrine is carried out. This portable shrine miraculously escaped the Great Kanto Earthquake, thus it has become a treasure of the region.
If you are in Japan this year, you should try to take part in the festival at the Mabashi Inari Shrine. If you cannot make it at that time, it is still very much worth visiting due to all of it’s unique qualities such as it’s temizuya, large bell, and three torii gates.
|Mabashi Inari jinja
|2-4-4 Asagayaminami Suginamiku Tokyo
|The JR chuo line at Koenji station or Asagaya station