Japanese Shrine Tips (How to wash your hands in Japanese shrines)



This video was taken at Arata-Hachiman Shrine, Kagoshima City, Japan.

When I took the video of shrine, a small cute pigeon jumped on the edge of water tank and started to drink water.


“TEMIZU-YA” at Japanese shrines

You wash your hands and mouths before entering Japanese shrine.

This place is called “TEMIZU-YA”.

According to Shinto religion, it is believed that water wash away “crime” and “uncleanness”.

In the ancient period, Japanese people washed their hands at the river and fountains near shrines.

As cities and towns developed, the water in the river and fountains got contaminated.

So, shrines made facilities where people can wash their hands.

How to wash hands and mouth at TEMIZU-YA

It is best to bring towels or handkerchief when you visit shrines, because there are no place to dry your wet hands.

1, Prepare towels and wash your left hand by using the ladle.
2. Wash your right hand by using the ladle.
3. Put water in left hand then hold it in your mouse.
4. Wash your left hand again and put back the ladle to the original place.

See videos to see how to wash hands at shrine


Dragon statue at TEMIZU-YA

Usually, the water is flowing from the mouth of dragons statue.

The dragon looks very similar to that of Japanese animation DRAGON BALL (Shen Long)

I love watching Dragon Ball for more than 20 years.

The dragon’s name is 神龍 in Kanji (Chinese Character).

First character 神 means God. Second character 龍 means Dragon.


Difference of Western and Oriental Dragons

Western and Oriental dragons have much difference!

(Western dragon)

Shenlong has sacred power and can revive the dead fighters in the anime “Dragon Ball”.

In Western country, however, dragons are evil creatures.

Dragon is the devil. It lives in deep valley. Sometimes it appears in village and take property and young girls.

Dragon is usually the symbol of natural calamities such as flood, volcanic lava and tornadoes.

Appearance has a wide range of variety. Some of western Doragon have wings others don’t. Some of them have arms and others don’t. They have sharp teeth like a alligator.

(Oriental dragon)

Oriental dragon is the symbol of good luck and one of holly together with the giraffe, the phoenix and the turtle.

Chinese emperors are said to be the incarnation of the dragons and they ride on the back of dragons and return to the heaven when they are dead.

Dragons are the embodiment of the earth and water. For this reason, mountainous areas with river are said to be flourish and get prosperous according to Chinese geomancy.

(Other dragons)

Egyptian dragon has a snake body with bat wings.

Indian dragons have a big snake body (32 m) and are divided into those living on the land and those living under water.

Georgian dragons have steep teeth, red throat and wings and legs of geese. Body colors include black, yellow, red and grey.


(Origin of dragons)

There are many arguments about the origin of dragons.

According to one theory, ancients took the “shooting star” as dragons. Shooting stars have long tales and looked as if snake-like creature is flying in the sky.



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