Visiting a Shinto shrine in the middle of the night is not usually recommended. Some Japanese people think that ghosts may appear...

One night, at around 2 AM, photographer Usadanu (@usalica) happened to be taking photos of a shrine when he saw a black shadow.

He may have imagined, if only for a fleeting moment, that this was something which he was not meant to see. But then, he looked more closely and realized what was in front of him...

Image reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Image reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Image reproduced with permission from Usadanu (@usalica)

Sitting perfectly still in front of the Shinto shrine was a fox!

Seeing the fox fixed at the torii gate of the shrine, a surprised and mystified Usadanu asked in his Tweet: "I wonder if he is the messenger of the gods?"

Foxes are often considered messengers of the gods and it is very common to see statues of them in Shinto shrines, particularly those used to worship the Inari god.

The photos, originally posted on July 14th, 2020, and reposted on January 12th, 2021, garnering a combined total of 360,000 likes and 76,000 retweets, elicited many comments from Twitter users, such as:

  • "Since it's sitting right in the middle of the torii gate, it could be that it was the Inari deity in person."
  • "It looks like it was saying: 'It's the middle of the night, so you had better not go any further.' "
  • "Amazing! It's looking directly at the camera! This is surely an auspicious sign for you."

Usadanu remained humble about the experience, saying: "I was able to take this shot because many things happened to come together by coincidence."

Perhaps it truly was a chance encounter with the Inari deity which would bring him good fortune...

By - Ben K.