mitarashi 御手洗
KEY WORD : architecture / shrines
A place to one side of the approach to a Shinto shrine where visitors perform purification rites, including rinsing the mouth and washing the hands. Often a large rectangular basin or cistern is used to hold the water. A pipe supplies the water with a continual stream at one end. The pipe is sometimes concealed by a dragon's or snake's head. The mitarashi has a roof but the sides are open. Varying styles and degrees of elaborateness characterize this type of shelter. If a stream or river flows nearby, as at Ise Jinguu 伊勢神宮, it is used as the place for purification and is called mitarashigawa 御手洗川 (a river for purification rites).
Nikkou Toushouguu Mitarashi 日光東照宮御手洗 (Tochigi)
Nikkou Toushouguu Mitarashi 日光東照宮御手洗 (Tochigi)


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