Oji Inari Jinja (王子稲荷神社) is a Shinto shrine which is a 5-minute walk from Oji Station of the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, or the Toden Arakawa Line. See the article on Oji Inari Shrine for details.
On New Year's Eve, the Kitsune-no-gyoretsu (狐の行列), or the Fox Procession, is held here.
Kitsune-no-gyoretsu at Oji Inari Jinja
In the Edo period, Oji Inari Shrine was thought to be the top-ranking Inari shine in Kanto region. In those days, there was a legend that on New Year's Eve, foxes from across the Kanto region -foxes were regarded as the servants of Inari, a god of fertility and fortune- gathered under an enoki tree near the shrine, put on clothes there, and moved on to the shrine to offer prayers.
Based on this story, the Kitsune-no-Gyoretsu, or the Fox Procession, has been practiced ever since 1993. People including children dress like foxes and start parading from Shozoku Inari Shrine, a very small Inari shrine, toward Oji Inari Shrine the moment a new year arrives (0:00am). When the procession reaches Oji Inari Shrine at 0:45am, a kind of folk music and a lion dance are to be performed at the Kaguraden.
When the procession reaches Oji Inari Shrine, a modest ritual is practiced at Kaguraden stage, and a few stage events like shishimai (lion dance) are performed.
Hatsumode, the Japanese custom of visiting Shinto shrines (and some major Buddhist temples) on New Year, is also practiced at this shrine beside the Fox Procession, so local residents come to the shrine to pay their first respect of the year.
Route of Fox Procession
The route and time of the Fox Procession is shown on the below map.