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Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin temple of foxes

Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin is a temple in Tokyo with a rather long name.  It is has a thousand fox guardians!  I can’t think of any other temple in the city with so many.  A whole THOUSAND!!  Okay, I haven’t counted every one of them, but there are many.

guardian fox at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

The interesting thing is that the statues are all varying sizes.  Many are small, of course, but some are pretty large.  Most of them have the red yodarekake (votive bibs) around their necks.  And there is something in their mouths like a scroll, jewel, or key.  They are great for photos!

Japanese guardian foxes and shrine

Toyokawa is not a big place, but it is refreshing if that makes sense.  Outside its fences is the concrete jungle.  Inside are many trees offering a good amount of shade, especially on hot summer days.  And those same trees block out some of the sounds of the city.  Like many other temples and shrines in Tokyo, you enter a tiny oasis of peace and tranquility.

If you are a photographer or an Instagrammer, it is a place to get some memorable pictures.  Most people would spend about thirty to sixty minutes there with a camera.  It’s not on the same level as Sensoji or Meiji Jingu, but it is fun.  I’m entirely sure you will leave pleased.

Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

A brief history of Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin 

The temple was built in 1828 and is a branch of Toyokawa Inari Temple in Toyokawa City, Aichi Prefecture.  A long time ago people visited it for a variety of reasons.  Apparently, it could help you make your way up in the world, be successful, stop losing things (I need this one!) and even prevent theft.  It is very popular with those wishing to be entertainers and athletes.  If you look at the ema (votive tablets), you’ll often find Jpop group names written on many of them.

stone lantern and washbasin at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

By the way, are you wondering why it has so many foxes?  Foxes are the messengers of Inari, one of the temple’s resident deities.  That is why there are so many.

Japanese shrine roof

What is there to photograph at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin?

The foxes are the main attraction and easy to find, mostly in one area, but you’ll find them in other places there too.  For other shots, you’ll need to look around a little more.  But it’s not so hard as so much is packed into the nooks and crannies.  Here is my list:

1)  several other worship halls

2)  incense burner and candles

3)  lots of red and white flags, Inari’s traditional colors

4) a small garden

5)  statues of other gods (Ebisu, Daikoku-ten, and Benzaiten, to name three)

fox shrine at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Toyokawa being quite a popular place, often has quite a few visitors.  Some come to take photos and others to rest or even eat lunch.  But, the majority come to pray.  Please keep this in mind when taking pictures.  Sometimes it is very easy to get so focused on taking a photo.  At those times, we don’t realize we are blocking a pathway or intruding on a person’s privacy.

Japanese guardian fox

Where is Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin?

Akasaka-Mitsuke (subway) station, served by the Ginza and Marunouchi lines, is very close.  Once there, leave via exit B.  It is only a short walk to the temple.

Here is a Google map:

Opening hours

The temple is usually open from 5 am to 8 pm.  But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it closes at 3 pm.

Admission costs


Japanese fox shrine

Other photo spots in the area

1)  Hibiya Park

2)  Hie Shrine

3)  Imperial Palace

4) National Diet Building

5)  State Guest House.

guardian foxes torii gates and flags at Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin

Wrapping Up

I doubt you’d spend much time at Toyokawa Inari, but it is fun to explore and photograph.  Those little foxes are cute. Get out there and put a few pictures on Instagram and use the hashtag #tokyoinpics so I’ll see them.  Good luck with it! You can see the temple’s website here. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

3 thoughts on “Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin temple of foxes”

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