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by Bob Kerstetter
The color vermillion symbolizes life force and counteracts evil spells in Shinto belief.
Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan.
At least 10,000 vermillion torii stand on the grounds of Fushimi Inari in Kyoto.
Inari is the guardian kami of crops, business success and family safety.
Worshippers of Inari offer the torii as prayers of gratitude.
Thousands of torii shroud the path to the summit of Inarisan, the shrine mountain.
While dogs guard other types of Shinto shrines, foxes protect the shrines to Inari. They also carry messages to and from Inari.
Inari is one of the most prominent kami of the Shinto religion and one of the Seven Lucky Gods.