Although it is unclear as to when this shrine was built, based on summary accounts, enshrinement had already taken place here between 859 and 876 AD.
The original main building was magnificent, and the shrine grounds covered a large area surrounded by forests and fields in a part of remote countryside sparsely populated by farmers. It was enshrined as a shrine worshipping Inari (a Japanese deity of foxes and fortune) for the Fukutoku village of the Musashino rural community, so that is where it took its name from.
This shrine originally had a strong following with military commanders, and on August 8th, 1590, the first shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu came to Edo (ancient Tokyo), where he first made his pilgrimage to the shrine in that same August. From that day forth he would go on to visit the shrine many more times.
On top of that, the second shogun Tokugawa Hidetada visited the shrine on 8th January, 1614, and appraised the shrine stating "Fukutoku is a truly wonderful title for the deities."
At that time, upon one of the sawtooth oak shrine gates made customarily with the bark still attached, he saw a new spring sprout emerging from it, so the shrine's alternative name became Mebuki (the Japanese word for "sprouting") Shrine.
In modern times, the shrine has been visited by people praying for better luck in the lotteries, however this came from during the Edo Period (1603-1868), where due to its recognized status as a "shrine with an honorable history," whenever it was destroyed by fire it was permitted to collect restoration funds via a "Shogunate-authorized lottery," one of the very few temples or shrines to be authorized for such purposes by the Edo government.
The Fukutoku Inari Lottery was held four times a year, and with its highest prize being 300 taels, was equivalent to the highest prizes of the lotteries at Sanno Shrine, Saga Shrine, Minami-yamashina Shrine and Nezu Shrine.
Deity of primary worship
- Deity who presides over grain
List of those enshrined together around the Edo Period
- A military commander from the Warring States Period. He built the Edo Castle.
- A Hindu deity. She was ceremonially transferred from Edo castle.
- He is the Supreme Authority over Tosho-gu Shrine. He established the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo.