Translated by Shinji Takaramura
The Internationally Famous Yūtoku Inari Shrine In Saga Prefecture
The Yūtoku Inari Jinja in Saga prefecture, famous for its architecture, is now a place that many Thai tourists visit, thanks to the movie "Timeline."
Written by Norihisa Hasegawa
There are many shrines in Japan. They have various titles, such as jinja or taisha. Among them, the ones with the red torii gate are called inari jinja, or affectionately - oinari-san. Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto is the most prominent inari shrine.
In this article, we will introduce the Yūtoku Inari Jinja, which is famous not only in Japan, but in Thailand, as well.
The Yūtoku Inari Jinja
It is one of the three main inari shrines in Japan, and three million visitors flock to this shrine every year. Inari is the guardian of daily life aspects such as food, clothing and living. For this reason, the local residents come to this shrine to offer their prayers.
Famous for its brilliant red architecture, it has become a popular sightseeing spot.
Recently, the number of visitors from Thailand has increased, due to the movie "Timeline," which premiered in Thailand in 2014. The movie was shot at this shrine, and its fans started coming to visit.
The visitors must climb these steps to go to the honden (inner shrine hall). Please note that you must start from the left side, and come down from the right.
1. The Grand Honden
Although the steps are a little strenuous, the sight of the honden in its brilliant red colors is worth it. An elevator which will take the visitors straight to the honden will be completed in the spring of 2016, so that will help a little.
2. Japanese Garden
When you visit this shrine, don't miss the Japanese garden. It has a pond and a bridge, with various flowers displayed according to the season, entertaining the visitors with the seasonal changes of the scenery.
On the day of our visit, the morning glory was in full broom.
The shrine's umaku-iku omamori, a good-luck charm with the picture of a horse, which is said to make everything work according to one's wishes, is very popular.
This good-luck charm was designed to reflect the pun in the expression umaku iku, which means "everything will turn out fine" in Japanese, and which happens to sound the same as the word uma "horse".
The umaku-iku omamori is said to have protective powers over health, agriculture and fishery, school tests, matrimonial happiness, business, promotion, wealth and games of chance. Don't forget to buy it for good luck.
The Hidariuma is another popular place in this shrine.
The kanji (Chinese character) in the middle is the mirror image of the word uma, and read as mau "dance", which is uma pronounced backwards. In Japan, a dance is performed on joyous occasions, and it is said to bring good luck.
The hidariuma is also on the ema, so write your wish and it may come true. There were many ema plates at the shrine with things written in Thai on them.
If you visit the Yūtoku Inari Jinja, go to the town of Hizenhamashuku, which was also introduced on the MATCHA website. It takes about 10 minutes by car to get there, so using a taxi is recommended.
At Hizenhamashuku, the visitors can enjoy the scenery of the old town, or go to the sake brewery. You should sample some sake, and look for a brand that you like.
Yūtoku Inari Jinja
Address: Saga-ken, Kashima-shi, Furueda-otsu 1855
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
*There are no closed days.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: Not Accepted
Menus Available In: Only in Japanese
Station: Hizenkashima Station of the JR Nagasaki Honsen
From the bus center at Hizenkashima station, take the Yūtoku Bus headed for Yūtoku Inari Jinja, and get off at the Yūtoku-jinja-mae bus stop. It is a five-minute walk to the shrine.
Admission Fee: 200 yen for the Japanese Garden
Official Website (Japanese): Yūtoku Inari Jinja