A view from the dragon at the temizuya overlooking the shrine grounds.
Wash Your Hands
The temizuya is near the entrance to every shrine and is where you wash your hands, your mouth, and your feet before going to pray. Ok, some people clean their mouth, but no one cleans their feet. Still—you’re suppose to. God likes clean feet.
The entire thing is highly ritualized, as are many things in Japan. The correct way to clean is first bow, clean your hands (right to left), then your feet, then your mouth, then the ladle itself. Finally, bow once more and leave to go pray.
All the while, the dragon watches you…
He looks kind of sinister with his claws latched onto the stone like that, don’t you think? If you look closely you can see a spider web coming from his body to his arm. I guess being a Shinto Shrine guardian doesn’t involve much movement.