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Sasuke Inari Jinja - Kamakura

last update: November 15, 2021
The Sasuke Inari is a shrine whose origins are characterized by fascinating mysteries and legends , dedicated to the Shinto deity Inari Ōkami. Surrounded by a legendary forest where the first ninja movement in Japanese history is thought to have been born, this place is characterized by silence, peace and tranquility. Very fascinating are the dozens of red torii along the stairway approaching the temple, and the hundreds of fox statues scattered everywhere. It is one of the hidden treasures of Kamakura, among the most recommended if you want to do something different than the classic sightseeing tours.

Hours and fees

All the details about the Sasuke Inari Shrine of Kamakura

Historical background

According to the most accredited hypothesis, the shrine was founded in 1195 by Yoritomo Minamoto, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate during which the city was the capital of Japan, ruling from 1192 until 1199. Minamoto he founded the shrine in homage to an old man who, according to legend, appeared to him in a dream, showing him how to act to defeat his enemies. The story of this apparition is connected to another fascinating story, that of the secret village (kakurezato) of Kamakura, from which, according to legend, the old man came who appeared in a dream to Minamoto. The secret villages were remote and difficult to access locations inhabited by ninjas. There were several in feudal Japan, but that of Kamakura, once located right in the area of ​​the shrine, was according to some historians a sort of predecessor of all the others, exploiting its isolated position to eliminate the enemies of the Kamakura shogunate. Another legend claims that the elder of the dream was the deity Inari to whom the sanctuary is dedicated.

Guide to visiting the Sasuke Inari Shrine

You arrive at the shrine after a long walk through the so-called ninja forest, where once was the secret village of warriors serving the Kamakura shogunate who are said to have been the precursors of the ninja. The last stretch of the route to get to the main building of the sanctuary is characterized by a staircase, about 100 meters long, where you pass under a whole series of sacred red gates (torii), just like in the famous Fushimi Inari of Kyoto.
sasuke inari jinja kamakura torii
sasuke inari jinja kamakura torii sasuke inari jinja kamakura torii the path that leads to Sasuke Inari Jinja
The shrine building is nothing special, similar to many other smaller Shinto shrines scattered around Japan. Instead, the place is very special, surrounded by the silence of the forest. Setting out in search of this shrine, until you finally reach your destination, is a really nice experience. Scattered here and there, along the paths of the temple immersed in the vegetation, there are numerous sacred altars, and sometimes even some wild squirrels.
sasuke inari jinja kamakura
But the feature that makes this temple magical and unique is its hundreds of porcelain fox figurines, of different sizes. In Japanese called kitsune, the fox is in the Shinto tradition a sacred animal as a "messenger" animal of the kami deity Inari Ōkami.
sasuke inari jinja kamakura kitsune
sasuke inari jinja kamakura kitsune sasuke inari jinja kamakura kitsune statues and figurines of kitsune (fox)

How to get to the Kamakura Sasuke Inari

This shrine is located in a wooded area about 2 km west of Kamakura station. It can only be reached on foot. Not being very famous, it is not very signposted along the roads. It is located near of the much more famous Zeniarai Benten Shrine.

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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