Genkuroinari-jinja Shrine (源九郎稲荷神社)

Genkuroinari-jinja is a Shinto Shrine located about 500 meters south west of Kintetsu Koriyama Station which is famous for its legends about two foxes, one called Genkuro and one who bought wataboshi (cotton caps). The location of the shrine appears in a children's song "Yamato no Genkuro san" which is known familiarly as 'Genkuro san' to the local residents. Although small, it is considered as one of the three largest Inari-jinja Shrines in Japan, and "Byakko Genkuro" (a white spiritual fox named Genkuro is enshrined in the North-facing main hall. Worshippers are said to be blessed with plentiful crops and prosperous trade, and "the Genkuroinari Spring Big Festival" is held on the first Sunday in April where children wearing white fox masks parade the streets.

History

The name Genkuro comes from a legend that when MINAMOTO no Yoshitune had a battle with his older-brother MINAMOTO no Yoritomo, Yoshitune was helped by the Inari (Fox messenger) many times, so Yoshitune named this Inari Genkuro (meaning MINAMOTO the 9th).

It has been reported that 宝譽, the priest in Choan-ji Village had a dream where Genkuro Gitsune in the form of an old man, told 宝譽 that if he enshrined him in Koriyama-jo Castle, he would become a guardian god of the castle. When 宝譽 told Hidenaga TOYOTOMI about his dream, an Inari shrine was founded in Ryuun-kaku (Hall) of the castle.

In 1719, it was transferred to the present location. The current shrine building was completed in 1925.

Legends

The legend of the loyal fox subject
When Yoshitune was being pursued by his brother Yoritomo, and was fleeing through Mt. Yoshino, a white fox in the form of Tadanobu SATO protected Shizuka Gozen from harm. Yoshitune admired the white fox for its loyalty. When Yoshitune found out that the fox's real priority was Shizuka Gozen's Tsuzumi (a hand drum) made from the skin of its parent, he gave the fox his own name and allowed the fox to call himself "Genkuro".

The legend of Yoto Kogitune maru
With help from Genkuro Gitune, a little fox who lived in the grounds of Sugata Myojin got rid of a giant snake which was tormenting the village people. When a Hoken (prized sword) was found in the tail of the giant snake, the villagers named it "Kogitsune maru," and dedicated it to Isonokami-jingu Shrine located in Tenri.

The Genna era legend of a fire extinction
In 1615, when the castle was set on fire in the night by Kazuma ONO, Hidenaga TOYOTOMI, the lord of the castle, seeing the fire spreading down to the central part of the castle town, prayed to Genkuro Gitsune. On doing so it suddenly began to rain, which prevented the fire from spreading.

The legend of a fox who bought cotton caps
There was a cap shop in 3-chome, Yanagi, Yamatokoriyama, and one winter night, a woman came to the shop to buy three cotton caps. The woman asked the shopowner to come to Genkuro-jinja Shrine to receive payment, but when he did so no-one in the shrine knew who he was talking about. Just as the shopowner started to feel suspicious, three little foxes wearing the cotton caps appeared in the Shrine grounds.

Access

Take Kintetsu Kashihara line and get off at "Kintetsu Koriyama Station," then walk 7 minutes. The temple is located to the side of Dosen-ji Temple.