Ritual cleansing prior to worship, is an age old practice. The use of water to purify oneself, being obligatory in most world religions until today.
Traditionally, this purification was done at a river, stream or seashore. As religions evolved, ablution fountains and Lavers started appearing in the outer courts of places of worship. The temple tank symbolised the ocean in Hindu shrines, although running tap water is taking its place in space starved cities.
A Temizuya is a water ablution pavilion at the entrance to most Shinto shrines in Japan, for the cleansing rite known as Temizu.
Before entering a shrine, one is expected to rinse both hands with the dipper provided. Next the mouth is rinsed with water sipped from the cupped left hand, and spat out beside the fountain. Sipping water directly from the ladle or swallowing the water is considered unclean. Finally the hands and the dipper are rinsed again, before returning the dipper to its stand.
The Kiyomizu Dera temple has another water feature besides the Temizuya – the Otowa no taki (Sound of Feathers) waterfall – that sits just below the main hall of the temple, and is a major attraction because of the wish granting properties attributed to its sacred waters. The line to drink from one of the three fountains was miles long, and I had to squeeze in between two hopefuls for this shot (below), after signing reassurances that I wasn’t going to cut the queue 🙂
One is expected to drink from any one of the three fountains whose waters are supposed to grant health, longevity or wisdom respectively. Why not drink from all three? Because that is considered greedy and said to invite bad luck three times over! I was sure of my choice. But I balked at negotiating that long, long line, and opted to watch instead.
43 thoughts on “The Cleansing Waters Of The Temizuya”
You’re amazing .. I just love to be here in your backpack .. and you take me to those amazing places and – tell me the a story. How delicate this truly is – and how far advanced both Japan and China has been compare to the rest of us. Thank you so much for the ride.
Which one did you choose, Madhu?
I didn’t….opted to people watch!
It would have been health, if I had the energy to negotiate that queue 🙂
Very interesting article, once again!
Can’t go far without health, Madhu. I really love these photos, especially the last one. Amazing to experience all these cultures with you.
Interesting as usual! Great pictures too – you have it all.
You don’t need neither of those three anyways. You seem to be wealthy of it all esp. wisdom. 😀
So interesting, Madhu. I’d find it difficult to choose between health, longevity and wisdom. I really would like to be greedy. 😀 That water dragon is quite something!
Beautiful history and photos Madhu. I would have to think about which fountain to drink from. What a choice to have to make.
we loved the washing ritual when we were in japan long ago .. thanks for explaining it all so well … we wanted to buy a dragon sculpture to take home but could not find one anywhere, even with our japanese friends to help! beautiful article madhu 🙂
I admired your dragon shots as well. Health wins everytime, the rest is pointless.
How fascinating Madhu. I like that they have a sort of bad luck thing for greedy people wanting all three…I like that a lot
M already a fan of Culturs, rituals of Asian countries(thnx to my asian drama addiction that introduced me to these amzing places) and with this post I want to be greedy…not for drinking water 3 times but to visit this place n to click photos……..
Loveelllyyyyy pics n great post..
Your blog is a treat. Every visit is a treat. Wonderful stuff Madhu !!
Delightful photos again!
An interesting post and I particularly love that last picture. The joy from the central figure’s smile in such a serene setting reaches out to you when you look at it. Lovely! (Although with all those crowds it may not have seemed serene while you were actually there!?)
beautiful captures of this place the 2nd one is my fav
I had some time to really look at this blog post….what a wonderful way to celebrate water as the theme this week!!!
I think my comments on your blog are going into spam! ‘Likes’ and pingbacks are not working either!! You might want to unspam me 😀
Did any one tell you what the water tasted like? In Florida, explorer Ponce de Leon was in search of the Fountain of Youth. Some believe he found it in St. Augustine, but the water there is not tasty. It has a sulphur smell and taste.
Love the photos and background, Madhu.
Very interesting and the photos are stunning. Thank you for sharing.
Fantastic post Madhu!
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
This is an interesting and lovely blog, I’m a new follower from Florence!!! A big kiss
Your photography, as always Madhu, is wonderful. I just love the rich traditions and history of the area that you weave throughout your posts. I feel I am learning so much about the world through your eyes. Thank you.
A wonderful post, Madhu: that dragon is magnificent!
“…The use of water to purify oneself …” – well, at least I daily hope, taking a warm shower, that I’ll become more and more innocent …
Great images and information. I think health is most impportant. Does everyone drink from the same containers held out to the water? I was just wondering as I didn’t quite understand how it all works. I would have to have my own cup. I’m OCD about so many things and I think that might have been one. I’m enjoying the visual and history through your eyes. Thank you for the vacation.
p.s. Nice entry for Cee’s challenge.
oooppsss …. forgot
I have a new Photo blog. Perhaps, you’ve missed it.
Great post with beautiful photos to fill the text. I love the first photo most of all.
I love the greedy aspect–I would love to see this for myself. I appreciate your efforts to get pictures and I hope no threats were made 🙂
Beautiful photography as always Madhu, Thanks for sharing my friend I love it 🙂
That is very intriguing. The dragon is magical. I think the architecture of the temple that let the water running from the top is an aesthetics design. The greedy and bad luck reminded me the Chinese tradition — never 10, thus 9 is a lucky number.
Beautiful views….especially Temizuya. Great pict.
Just inspiring. Just looking at the cascading , clear waters made me feel at peace and cleanse. Beautiful images.
Is this at Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto, Madhu? I have pictures that look similar to these, but I can’t tell if it’s the same place. http://catbirdinkyoto.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/golden-pavilions-rock-gardens-bamboo-groves-and-white-gloved-train-conductors/
Your pictures are stunning! 🙂
You are right, the first one is from Kiyomizu-dera.
Ah, I thought it looked familiar!
That line was long when we went there too… 🙂 Great photos.