The Taikodani Inari Shrine was built facing northeast of
the Tsuwano Castle to protect it from evil spirits
(northeast was considered the most ominous direction)
and to pray for the happiness of Tsuwano’s citizens. It
was at first banned for visitation, but that ended when
feudalism was abolished in 1871. Tsuwano Castle was
also torn down during this time.
One of its biggest highlights is its unique tunnel of red torii gates that lead uphill to the shrine. There are over a thousand torii gates that visitors pass through during a 15 minute walk up stone steps. It is also known for its huge straw ropes that hang above the entrance to the shrine’s hall.
Taikodani Inari Shrine worships a rice god, but it is also said to be the only shrine in Japan that grants wishes, business prosperity, and wards off evil spirits. More than a million people visit the shrine annually, making it the second most visited shrine in Shimane after the Izumo grand Shrine. After reaching to the top of the torii tunnel, visitors are able to purchase deep fried tofu and candles as an offering. It is said that the stone fox statues found around the shrine are its familiars, and the deep fried tofu are the foxes’ favorite snack.