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Darkness falls at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto.


This is one of the oldest Inari Shrines in Japan. The story of its origins is tied to the legend of a member of the Hata-clan who (it is said) shot an arrow into a piece of "mochi" (pounded rice cake). The arrow was apparently magical, because when it hit, it turned the mochi into a white bird. The white bird then flew off and landed on the peak of a mountain, where rice began to grow in abundance. That mountain was Mt. Inari, where the Fushimi Inari Shrine is located.


In this shot, you can see a shimenawa, which is sacred twists of ricestraw rope with white zigzag paper strips (gohei). In Shinto beliefs, it marks the boundary between the ordinary everyday world and the world of the sacred. They can be found on torii gates, on shrines, as they are here, and many other places that are sacred in Shinto beliefs.


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Uploaded on September 30, 2005