Procession of Foxes in Oji
31 December 2015 – 1 January 2016
Kitsune, or the fox, used to be a familiar animal for the Japanese. In folklore, the creature often changes into a human girl to “fox” people. But it has also been a sacred being, venerated as the messenger of the deity Inari.
Legend holds that on New Year’s Eve, a number of foxes came to gather from all over Kanto region to Oji, located in northern Tokyo. They changed into formal kimono under a big tree and thence solemnly marched in procession to pay homage to Oji Inari Shrine. Hiroshige Utagawa depicted the scene in one of his ukiyo-e works. It is said that the shrine built just next to the big tree is the present Shozoku Inari Shrine (shôzoku means costume).
The Procession of Foxes was started by the locals 23 years ago to pass down the legend and traditions to the next generation. On New Year’s Eve, the town of Oji gets enchanted, as people in fox makeup gather at Shozoku Inari Shrine and walk in procession with Japanese lanterns to Oji Inari Shrine. Get immersed in a good-old local atmosphere.
Place name Oji (in Japanese) 王子 Website go to website Steering Committee (in Japanese) Dates 31 December 2015 – 1 January 2016 Opening hours Procession starts at midnight on New Year’s Eve Price Participation in procession:￥1000 (adults older than 16 years old; children are free if accompanied by parents) Remarks ・Participation in the procession is possible only by reservation beforehand (see the Steering Committee’s website)
・Up to 100 participants
・Participation of children alone is not allowed
・Wear kimono appropriate for New Year’s homage and fox make-up of Oji style or a fox mask (details to be communicated to the participants)
・Protection against cold weather
・Cancellation in case of stormy weather
Address Shozoku Inari Shrine (2-30-14 Oji, Kita-ku, Tokyo);
Oji Inari Shrine (1-12-26 Kishimachi, Kita-ku, Tokyo) and other
* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.