History

The origin of Fushimi Inari Taisha is described in Yamashirokoku Fudoki, an ancient report on provincial culture, geography and oral tradition that was presented to the emperor. Irogu no Hatanokimi, an ancestor of Hatanonakatsue no Imiki, is said to have shot a rice cake, which turned into a swan and flew away. Eventually the swan landed on a peak of a mountain, where an auspicious omen occurred and rice grew. Inari is named for this miracle (“ina” is Japanese for “rice”). It has also been described in other ancient texts, which state that priests such as Hatauji have held spring and autumn festivals at the shrine ever since the deity Inari Okami was enshrined on a plateau in the Inari Mitsugamine area during the Wado era (708-715).

An ancient shrine text also says that Irogu no Hatanokimi, a respected figure in what is now the Fukakusa area of Kyoto, received an imperial order from Empress Genmei to enshrine three deities in three mountains on the first Day of the Horse of the second month of 711. That year, the farmers were blessed with great harvests of grains and much silk from their silkworms.

This shows that Fushimi Inari Taisha and the Fukakusa area are closely connected to Hatauji, and that our deity has been enshrined since the first Day of the Horse in the second month of 711. But there is reason to believe that our faith dates back even further than this.

711 Inari Okami takes up residence in Mitsugamine, Inariyama, Kii-gun, Yamashiro Province.
827 Sacred trees on Inariyama are cut so that their wood can be used to build Toji Temple. A curse by the deity causes disturbances, and Inari no Kami (as Inari Okami was previously known) is granted the junior fifth rank, a lower rank of deities, by the imperial court.
908 Fujiwara Tokihira repairs the shrine.
927 Fushimi Inari Taisha is recorded in the Engishiki Jinmyocho, a list of shrines throughout Japan, recognizing three shrines in the precinct of Inari Shrine, Kii-gun, Yamashiro Province as one of the highest-ranking shrines.
942 The shrine is elevated to the highest rank for Shinto shrines.
1000 Sei Shonagon writes in her published diary Makura no Soshi (The Pillow Book) about a visit that she made to the shrine on the Day of the Horse in February. She describes the climb to the shrine buildings as exhausting.
1336 Emperor Godaigo flees from Kyoto to the Yoshino area, where Fushimi Inari Taisha is located. He loses his way and prays to Inari no Kami, reciting a poem: “I am lost in the darkness of the night. Please send me three lanterns to guide me”. A red cloud appears, guiding him to safety. The “three lanterns” he mentions refer to the three mountains with shrines, including Fushimi Inari Taisha, which have now been known as holy grounds for centuries.
1467 The outbreak of the Onin Rebellion.
1468 The shrine edifices both on the mountain and below are destroyed in a fire during the attack of Yamana Mochitoyo, Hatakeyama Yoshinari, Shiba Yoshikado, Ouchi Masahiro on Honekawa Doken.
1499 The shrine edifices are rebuilt.
1589 The main gate is built with offerings made by regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
1694 Shrine edifices are rebuilt.
1871 The shrine is designated a Kanpei Taisha (grand shrine under the control of the Department of Worship) of the new Meiji government.
1909 With the adoption of the National Treasure Preservation Law, the main shrine building is designated a national treasure (today an Important Cultural Property).
1946 Fushimi Inari Taisha is registered as a religious organization.
1961 Ceremonies commemorating the 1250th anniversary of Inari Okami taking up residence on Inariyama.
1999 Grand ceremony held to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the rebuilt shrine edifices dating to 1499.
2011 Ceremony to celebrate the 1300th anniversary of the shrine’s establishment.