Hanazono Inari Shrine in Ueno, not to be confused with Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, is a historic Shinto shrine situated within the famous Ueno Park in Tokyo. This shrine is dedicated to Inari, the god of fertility, rice, agriculture, and foxes. Inari shrines are easily recognizable by their vibrant vermilion torii gates, and Hanazono Inari Shrine is no exception.
As you approach the shrine, you will be greeted by a series of red torii gates, creating a mesmerizing tunnel-like pathway leading up to the main worship area. This picturesque scene is a popular spot for photographers and visitors.
The shrine grounds also feature several stone statues of foxes, which are considered to be the messengers of Inari. These foxes, or kitsune, are often depicted holding a key to the rice granary in their mouths, symbolizing their role in protecting and ensuring a bountiful harvest.
Despite its relatively small size, Hanazono Inari Shrine offers a peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal place for quiet contemplation and spiritual reflection. Its location within Ueno Park, one of Tokyo’s most popular public parks, means that you can easily incorporate a visit to the shrine as part of a larger exploration of the area.
Ueno Park itself is home to a variety of attractions, including museums, a zoo, and beautiful gardens. The park is especially popular during its sakura festival in cherry blossom season, as it hosts a large number of cherry trees that create a stunning display of pink blossoms. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, a visit to Hanazono Inari Shrine and Ueno Park is a must for anyone exploring Tokyo.