In the precinct of ‘Ise-jingu’ inner shrine which is Japan’s oldest and most prestigious ‘Shinto’ shrine, there runs the Isuzu River whose clear stream is utilized for purifying the visitors from defilement.
In most cases, ‘Shinto’ shrines in Japan is laid out in forests or groves because ‘Shintoism’ is a polytheistic religion based on nature worship. Like the river in the picture above, Japanese people have made good use of stream when they have to purify themself before worshipping since time immemorial.
In the course of time, like in the picture above, a special-purpose installation has come to be made. Thus, this kind of water basin called ‘suiban-sha’ has become to be seen in every ‘Shinto’ shrine in the country. It is said that the first such basin was created in the ‘Tosho-gu’ shrine in Nikko in the 17th century. In addition, ‘Shintoism’ had merged with Buddhism from India since the 9th century, hence we sometimes encounter the same type of water basin even in a ‘Buddhist’ temple compound.
By Masahisa Takaki.
ISE JINGU INNER SHRINE
1 Ujitachicho Ise, Mie
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