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Updated: October 16, 2017
According to old legends, before there was any city where Tokyo now stands, foxes from all over the region would gather underneath a large tree on New Year's Eve. The foxes would don costumes and then parade to Oji Inari Shrine. In honor of that, famous ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige created a print called "New Year's Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Oji." The Oji Fox Parade was established in 1993 as a modern-day, living recreation of the print. It has also been a way for residents of Oji to look back on the previous year while welcoming the new one.
At this annual celebration of traditional Oji culture, participants dress up as foxes for a special procession that starts at night on December 31st. They hold paper lanterns, which not only represent foxfires, but also the light of hope and life. The lively procession ends past midnight on January 1st with a solemn blessing at the Oji Inari Shrine, where participants celebrate their first shrine visit of the year. Visit Oji to see this unique local tradition for yourself.
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