Foxes are thought to be the messengers of Inari, the Shinto god of fertility, rice, tea and sake, agriculture and industry, as well as of general prosperity and worldly success. The god's sacred granary is the home to all of these and is representative of his house. At the gates of Fushimi Inari-Taisha in Kyoto, the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, I saw this red-bibbed fox with a granary key staring at me with watchful eyes.
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