There is a basin with dippers just this side of the main building or hall of worship of a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple in Japan. The visitors are expected to wash their hands and mouth by the clean water in the basin before a prayer. This significant basin is usually roofed to protect the basin and dippers against rainfall. The first photo shows one of the typical temizuya (chozuya). This tradition is thought to stem from Isejingu Shinto Shrine in Mie Prefecture. This is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and lies along the Isuzu River. The approach to the main building of the shrine runs beside the river as shown in the second photo, where is regarded as the first primitive temizuya (chozuya) in Japan. The visitors are expected to drop by here, named Isuzugawa Mitarashi, for purification by the river water. As it is difficult to find the good site for new Shinto shrine with a river for purification, a basin filled with clean water was invented instead. This kind of basin was also applied to Buddhist temples since Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the 6th century.
Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki. http://tour-guide-japan.jp/