Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
[Temizu ya]
A purification font to allow shrine visitors to rinse hands and mouth in symbolic purification. Sometimes read chōzuya. Usually located near the entrance of shrines, most of these facilities are found in the form of a simple roof supported by pillars over a font of running water, and supplied with a variety of dippers. The name temizu refers to the water (mizu) used to purify the hands (te). The reading chōzu is a corruption of the original pronunciation, and is used to refer to the action of using water to purify the hands. As still seen in the case of the Isuzu River running alongside the Grand Shrine of Ise, in ancient times purification before worship was frequently performed directly in a river or spring located within or nearby the shrine precincts (keidaichi). The purification font can be considered a facility provided to allow regular worshipers to perform an abbreviated form of misogi or cold-water ablutions in water. In preparation for some shrine rituals, officiating priests (shinshoku) and participants observe a ritual of purification called kiyochōzu that does not involve the normal purification font, but is performed with water provided separately.

-Mori Mizue
Temizuya in the Ōmiwa Jinja precinct

Nara Prefecture, 2006

©Tsujimura Shinobu

Shinto priest purifying themselves at a Temizuya located on the grounds of Kokugakuin University.

Tokyo, 2005

©Ōsawa Kōji

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