This photo shows Yutoku Inari Shrine, one of the most famous and beautiful Inari shrines in Japan. It is located in Kashima City, in the southern part of Japan on Kyushu Island. The area is known for its rice-farming culture and its stunning scenery. Rice fields are nestled among volcanic mountains that are covered with green forests.
This shrine was founded in 1687 by the wife of the local lord, and it is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto deity of rice, prosperity, and foxes. The shrine has a majestic, vermilion-lacquered complex that is built into the steep hillside of a valley. The main hall stands on tall wooden beams 18 meters above the ground, and the shrine grounds are decorated with thousands of red torii gates. The shrine has been constantly renovated and enlarged over the years, and it attracts millions of visitors every year.
If you plan on visiting this shrine, there are a few times of the year when it holds some unique festivals.
Shichigosan Festival – is a celebration for children who are three, five, or seven years old. It is held from mid-October to late November. During the festival, chitosan candies are given out at the shrine. Kids also can wear little fox masks.
Shuki Taisai Festival – is a fire-making ceremony that is held on December 8. It is a ritual to thank and pacify the spirits of Inari, the god of rice, prosperity, and foxes. A large bonfire is lit in front of the shrine, and visitors can warm up with the divine fire and pray for happiness in the coming year. The shrine also offers amazake, a sweet drink made from new rice, to the visitors.
To process this photo of the Yutoku Inari Shrine, I used a few techniques.
First, I shot it for the HDR style with three shots bracketed. Then, I merged them in Photomatix and applied a bunch of Color Efex Pro filters. Finally, I moved it to Photoshop where I added some texture and the High Pass sharpening techniques.
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