Tokyobling's Blog

Inside the Toyokawa Inari Okunoin – Hatsumode

Posted in Places by tokyobling on February 29, 2016

One of the most famous “Temple Shrines” (temples that also functioned as shrines – it is a long a complicated story about the role of Japan’s two major religions Buddhism and Shinto) in Tokyo is the Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin in Tokyo’s Moto Akasaka district (near both Nagatacho stations and the famous Akasaka Mitsuke stations). Erected as a branch office of the main Toyokawa Inari in Aichi Prefecture, it has been tremendously popular from the day it was opened in 1828 to this day. During the years after its founding, the temple shrine was moved and the buildings rearranged, one of them being one of my favorite buildings in Tokyo; the tiny Okunoin (奥の院). It looks very much like an ordinary shrine from the outside, except that it is strikingly white (which is quite unusual), but on the inside it looks like any rural temple complete with buddhist art and statues. During the Hatsumode season this year (early January) the Okunoin building was opened to the public and I got my first chance to poke around outside. I would have loved to spend more time in here but lots of people were lining up outside waiting to get in so I had to be quick with my camera.

The Tokyokawa Inari Bestuin is very popular with celebrities and if you have a chance it is a great spot to go for the New Year’s celebrations, from about half an hour before midnight on the 31st to the Coming of Age day in early January.









6 Responses

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  1. Mikku said, on March 1, 2016 at 12:07 am

    Haven’t seen that before. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Mikku said, on March 2, 2016 at 4:01 am

    I’m forever saying that I must visit the places you blog about, so today I decided to strike while the iron was hot and make a detour to this shrine on the way to work! My first surprise was that I had actually been there before, a few years ago now, though for some reason I hadn’t noticed or at least fully appreciated the white okunoin on that occasion. My second surprise was that I could go in, which I did and as your photos show, it is as pretty on the inside as it is from the outside. Well worth a visit, or a second visit even!!


  3. kelbypintard said, on March 9, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures!


  4. r_hsw said, on March 17, 2016 at 5:00 am

    i never thought of ‘white’ is an uncommon color for a shrine. i suppose almost all of them are red? i also quite like the interior look. the murals on the ceiling is an added charm.


  5. kei said, on May 7, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I love temples/shrines that you can enter. I would like to visit Betsuin for the New Year.


  6. Kelli said, on November 12, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hello, just wanted to drop by and say I enjoy your photos a lot. It’s a long time since your last upload and I hope you are fine.


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