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Kamakura Trip Home  > Sasuke Inari Jinja (Shrine)

The inari deity who guided Yoritomo

The countless blazing-orange gates on the path to Sasuke Inari Shrine

The countless blazing-orange gates on the path to Sasuke Inari Shrine

An inari jinja is a shrine dedicated to a god of harvest, success in life, academic achievement, or success in business. It is said that Sasuke Inari Shrine is the best shrine in Kamakura to visit if you want to improve you luck of success in life or in business. Why this shrine in particular? Because the god of this shrine is the one who led the first Minamoto Shogun, Yoritomo Minamoto, into victory with his campaign against the rival Heike clan. The shrine's name of Sasuke was derived from Yoritomo's rank of the emperor's court when he was young, which was Hyoenosuke. People called him Sir Suke for short. Since he later received help from this god of inari here in Kamakura and became extremely successful, he built this shrine out of gratitude. The countless red tori, or gates, under which visitors pass on the approach to the shrine, are donated by followers of the shrine.

The legend of Sasuke Inari Shrine and Yoritomo's success

The legend of Sasuke Inari Shrine and Yoritomo's success

According to legend, the god of Sasuke Inari was the one who urged Yoritomo to pursue battle against the Heike clan, the life-long enemy of the Genji clan.  One night, Yoritomo had a dream.  In that dream, one old man thought to be a divine spirit, said to him, “I am the god of inari living in a hidden village.  Raise an army to attack the Heike clan.  I’ll protect you.” Then he disappeared. Yoritomo trusted the old man’s words, raised an army, and lead it into battle against the Heikei clan. Eventually he was victorious in the conclusive battle of Dan-no-ura. Next, he established the Kamakura shogunate, or military government. After some time, he discovered a small shrine in a secluded village and thought, “This must be that old man’s hidden village!”  He then built a shrine there out of gratitude. The shrine he built is present day Sasuke Inari Jinja (Shrine).

Ceramic white fox offerings

Ceramic white fox offerings

The ceramic white foxes seen all over the shrine, are offered by followers with the hopes that they will help their prayers be heard. The foxes come in pairs; one holds a sacred gem in its mouth, and the other holds a Shinto ritual prayer scroll in the mouth.  You can purchase the ceramic foxes at the amulet office.  It is recommended to place the foxes near the main shrine.
Prices for a set of two ceramic foxes:  large: 3,000 yen, medium: 2,000 yen, small: 1,500 yen

There is trailhead to the Daibutsu Hiking Trail on the left side of the main shrine. It leads to Zeniarai Benten Shrine and Genjiyama Park.

Kitsune-netsuke charm

Kitsune-netsuke charm

A much sought after amulet of Sasuke Inari Shrine is the cute kitsune-netsuke. It can be used as a cellphone charm. They are sold for 300 yen.

Information

Address:2-22-12 Sasuke, Kamakura City
Phone:0467-22-4711
Access:  A 15-minute walk from JR・Enoshima Dentetsu Kamakura station, west gate
Map: Google Map
Official website: -

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