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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Ritual Implements and Vestments
Entō
Also read shioyu, the liquid produced by dissolving rock salt in water, and used in the preparatory purifications (shubatsu) preceding ritual worship. Salt water is also considered an indispensable element in the performance of groundbreaking rites (jichinsai) and certain other rites. Customarily entō is placed atop the ritual table (an) along with the ritual wand ōnusa. From ancient times salt water has been used for purposes of purification, as evidenced by a passage in the early ninth century Kōtai Jingū gishikichō that includes the expression, "after purifying with salt water, the offering is presented to the divine storehouse."

According to the rules for ritual procedure established by the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō), a rite of purification (harae) is performed by holding a sprig of the sacred evergreen sakaki tree in the right hand, dipping it into a bowl of salt water held in the left hand, then shaking it to the left, to the right, and to the left again. The vessel in which the salt water is held is called the entōki.

-Inoue Nobutaka
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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