The Japanese traditional culture is extremely rich in stories and legends passed from generation to generation. When you visit the Japanese temples, shrines or monuments, look for the explanatory plaques, some of them are also in English and you will learn many beautiful old legends. Here’s one of them:
It is said that a long time ago, an aristocrat named Hatanoirogu was practicing archery using as a target a mochi (rice-cake). Suddenly, the mochi turned into a white crane and flew away. Then the crane landed and transformed into rice plants, which grew producing a rich crop. Understanding that this was a message from gods (kami), the aristocrat built on that place a shrine dedicated to Inari, the kami of rice and agriculture.
This was the legend of the famous shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha from Kyoto, established in 711, the most important shrine dedicated to Inari. However, the place from the legend is probably different from the shrine’s location, because it is known that originally the shrine was built in Inariyama hill and was moved on the current location in 816…
Here’s one of the shrine’s entrances, the Romon Gate, a gate donated by the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: