Chozuya 手水舎

Purification of body and mind


At the entrance to Shinto shrines, devotees must wash their hands and rinse their mouths with "chozuya" for purification before worship.


A complete purification

Purification, therefore, plays a vital role in Shinto worship and takes several forms: ablutions (misogi), prayers under a waterfall (mizugori), the harae in Shinto ceremonies during which the priest rids the faithful of their impurities by waving the o-nusa before them.

All of these practices are meant to cleanse your body and mind. Only purified worshipers can approach the kami to pray or show gratitude. For this reason, you will find on the way leading to the shrine's main building a chozuya (also called temizuya or suibansha). This fountain is intended for purification ablutions, as sometimes indicated by an engraved inscription: "wash my mind, clean my heart."

Very often, the water pours from a dragon sculpted in the image of Ryujin, the god of the sea. But sometimes, the latter gives way to a turtle, a deer, a boar, or even the chest of Senju Kannon. . Whether it is a simple stone basin or a wooden one with the most sophisticated carved pavilion, the ritual remains the same.


The chōzuya can sometimes take confusing forms


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