Goddess Inari – Shinto Goddess of Agriculture and Prosperity

Goddess Inari, also considered an aspect of Ukanomitama, is one of the main Shinto deities in Japan, possessing more than one thousand and two hundred altars and temples dedicated to her (not counting the small and homemade altars found on roads).

Rice planting is on the basis of Japanese culture and society, therefore Inari is one of the most revered Goddesses of all. She is also associated with prosperity and due to this she is also extremely venerated by merchants and people linked to industries.

Goddess Inari - Illustrated by Dreoilin
Goddess Inari – Illustrated by Dreoilin

The red colour is very present in her cult appearing in foxes, her most common symbol, and in the Torii present in places of devotion. Moreover, the color red also represents prosperity and life.

Attributes: Foxes, fertility, rice, tea, sake, prosperity, and success
Symbols: Red and white fox, sickle, rice and the colour, red
Place: Japan

Goddess Inari – Goddess of Agriculture and Grains

Ukanomitama, an aspect of Inari
Ukanomitama, an aspect of Inari, Image from “Shinto Cocoro

Goddess Inari is closely linked to the cultivation of rice, agriculture and grains in general. She is represented in different ways, even as an elderly gentleman carrying sacks of rice. Her appearance depends greatly on one’s beliefs and traditions, making Inari a very personal deity.

The Goddess’s main symbols are the foxes and they are always found in pairs at the entrance of her temples. These statues usually have some items in their mouths or under a front paw. It can be a coin or a jewel and a key, but it can also be a branch of rice, a parchment or a fox cub.

The main Inari temple is in Kyoto, in the Fushimi neighbourhood. The place is visited by many tourists and devotees, being one of the most characteristic places in Japan.

Goddess Inari - Fushimi Shrine
Goddess Inari – Fushimi Shrine

Goddess Inari – Goddess of Prosperity

Goddess Inari by Dreoilin at DeviantArt
Goddess Inari by Dreoilin at DeviantArt

Goddess Inari is also associated with prosperity in a general way, and in feudal Japan, she was the patroness of swordsmen and merchants, blessing farmers with a fertile crop every year.

There is a myth which tells that Inari descends from her mountain every year during spring, blessing the rice plantations. During this period, she takes the form of a young woman and sleeps with men. One of these men realized that he was sleeping with the Goddess when he saw a red and hairy tail through the sheets, but he did not say anything. Inari rewarded his discretion by doubling that year’s crop.

One of the main Shinto Deities

Inari is one of the greatest Shinto deities. In a way, all deities related to agriculture and prosperity are related to Inari.

Inside Inari’s temple in Fushimi there are three other Kami enshrined: Ukanomitama (Grain Goddess and an aspect of Inari), Satahiko (Sarutahiko, leader of the Earth Kami and Goddess Uzume‘s husband), Omiyanome (Uzume, Goddess of Joy and wife of Sarutahiko).

Shinto – The Kami Way
Shinto Norito – a book of prayers
The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship
The Fox and the Jewel

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Inari Maneki Kitsune
Maneki Kitsune
Pair of Kitsunes
Pair of Kitsunes
Torii Gate
Torii Gate

Goddess Inari – Summoning

Goddess Inari is intimately tied to rice and prosperity. So one way to connect with her to attract prosperity into your life is by preparing a meal with rice and decorating the table with the red and white colours. As you prepare the food, focus on the Goddess and the blessings she provides to farmers. Dedicate the food you are preparing to her and ask for prosperity and abundance to be cultivated in your life!

Before eating, do as the Japanese do and thank for the food. After eating, also say thank you.

If you have guests for the meal, give each of them one miniature fox so they can take it home.

Thank the Goddess.

Read about other Shinto Goddesses

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