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Instead of the usual guardian dog, a stone pigeon looks down at worshippers before the shrine gate.
Animals are familiar symbols of shrines. People of ancient times thought animals to be the messengers and servants of gods, who never appeared before humans. Of these, the fox is generally regarded as the messenger of the Inari deity. In the case of Miyake Hachimangu Shrine, in Kamitakano, the deity's representative is a delightful pigeon. The deity here has long been prayed to for help in containing irascibility in children. In earlier times, the cause was thought to be a worm (mushi) living inside the child, so the deity became popularly known as "mushi-Hachiman." In front of the shrine gate, instead of the usual guardian dog, a stone-carved pigeon quietly greets visitors. To one side of the shrine building, as petitions for good luck, votive tablets with illustrations of pigeons, and other items, are offered to the deity. Flocks of cooing pigeons still frequent the quiet precincts of this shrine.Miyake-cho, Kamitakano, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City Eizan Railway: Miyake-Hachiman Station

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