Photo Friday Challenge: Pure / Temizuya


Hasedera Temizuya

Photo Friday Challenge: Pure

For the theme of Pure, I immediately thought of the Japanese temizuya 手水舎, or water purification fountain that is found at the entrance to Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. This particular fountain is found at Hasedera 長谷寺, a Buddhist temple in Kamakura 鎌倉, in Kanagawa Prefecture 神奈川県. I was there two weeks ago, during a visit to my husband’s family, and viewed the ajisai アジサイ or hydrangea blooms.

The water at the purification fountain temizuya is clear and pure, and the ladles almost invite you to drink it, but this is not a place to drink water. Rather, you perform a purification ritual called misogi 禊 prior to entering the temple. The idea is to purify your body and mind with water before you stand before the deity. The ritual involves rinsing your hands and mouth.

First, you scoop the water with the ladle in your right hand and pour the water over your left hand. Then, you hold the ladle in your left hand and pour the water over your right hand. Finally, you pour some of the remaining water in the ladle into your left hand and rinse your mouth. This should all be done with one ladle of water, and the ladle should never directly touch your mouth. Many people skip the mouth rinsing step, and I imagine this is because you don’t usually want to spit in front of other people and you aren’t supposed to consume the water.

The idea is to rinse away the impurities in your heart and in your physical being. You then are able to approach the deity within the shrine or temple. You are not required to observe this ritual, but I usually do. This image of the temizuya evokes for me the image of pureWhat is your image of pure? Let me know in the comments!



4 thoughts on “Photo Friday Challenge: Pure / Temizuya

    • Yes, it does have quite a few pronunciations. I’ve heard ちょうずや as well, but the official “guide” to using the 手水舎 at shrines and temples uses “temizuya” in it’s English translation.

      Liked by 1 person

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