Ribbit said the frog. RIBBIT!! said the GIANT frog.

Let's "kaeru" (go back), said both frogs

Kaeru in Japanese means to return. The same sounding word, kaeru, means frog.

Many Japanese return to the Juban Inari Shrine time and again to offer a prayer or see these two frogs that sit just to the right of the steps leading up to the shrine.

This shrine is also one of the stops during the traditional 7 Lucky Gods walk (there are several of these walks around the Tokyo area, but that's another story). Juban Inari Shrine houses the boat that the 7 gods ride in. A stone boat is just to the left of the tori.

Legend has it that a giant frog appeared out of a pond and started spouting water to extinguish the flames of a fire that threatened the area. Since then the frog is reputed to protect against fire.

The frogs (parent and child) have become popular because the Japanese word for frog is “kaeru,” which has the same pronunciation as the word for return. Take a trip to see the frogs and your lost items may be returned, your youth may return, or you will return to the shrine.

So, if you had a great time in Japan and hope to come back again stop by this shrine, rub the frogs on the head, climb the steps to donate a coin or two and offer a prayer. You may be back before you know it!

It's easy to find - take either the Oedo or Namboku subway line to get to Azabu Juban. The shrine is across the street from Shioya (see the article about Shioya).

by Joe Peters