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Along with Fushimiinari and Kasamainari Shrines, Yutokuinari Shrine is one of the 3 great Inari shrines. The Inari (a harvest God) is nicknamed “Yutoku-san” by the locals. The shrine was founded in Kashima in 1687 The vivid vermilion building set amongst the green of trees is impressive. Important structures of the building include the sanctuary, the front shrine and the romon (two-story gate) were finished in Japanese lacquer. The Inari is worshipped as the ancestral god of food, clothing and shelter, prayed to for productiveness of grains, trading prosperity, family prosperity, great catches of fish and safe journeys. Over 2,800,000 people visit the shrine every year. In spring, the “Tamagae (ball exchanging)” Festival is held on April 8th. In autumn, the“Ohitaki (fire)” Festival is held on December 8th. In addition, the outer garden of Higashiyama Park is famous for azaleas. 50, 000 beautiful azaleas bloom when in season. The treasures of the shrine, as well as art works of Kashima Nishiki (colorful brocade fabric), armor, swords and fine art owned by the successive Kashima lords, are displayed at the adjoining Yutokukuinari Museum.
History and heritage