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Updated: February 1, 2023
Note: The procession is cancelled for 2022.
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."
On New Year's Eve of 1993, the print was acted out in real life by storeowners near Oji Shozoku Inari Shrine and its hackberry trees as a way for the residents of Oji to look back on the previous year while welcoming the new one. This was the start of the Oji Fox Parade.
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. The parade is intended to pass on the history and culture of the area to the local children, inspire them, and offer prayers for their health and happiness.
2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the event. The Fox Parade itself will not take place, but Oji Shozoku Inari Shrine will be opening their shrine office and decorating the shrine path with foxfire lanterns. Visitors are welcome to come to Oji Inari Shrine for New Year's Eve or their first shrine visit of the new year.
Please check the official event website for the latest updates on opening dates and times, prices, and other information.