At Sumiyoshi Shrine near Minami-Otaru Station, we were able to see a very beautiful hana-chozu (flower hand-watering ceremony).

"Hana-chozu," in which flowers are floated and decorated in a hand basin, is said to have started in the 2010s. Hana-chozu at Yangagitani Temple in Kyoto Prefecture became popular on social networking sites, and seems to have become widely known. Later, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the use of hand-water was discouraged, and the practice spread nationwide. One theory suggests that the practice of floating flowers on the surface of water in a handbasin has existed since ancient times, but considering that it became widespread due to social networking and anti-corona measures, it seems to be a very modern and new culture.

However, the term "hana-chozu" itself was originally used in a different sense. Chozu refers to the act of purifying the hands and mouth before visiting a shrine. The kanji character "手水 (temizu)," which has the same meaning, was changed and pronounced "chouzu." The usual way to perform the ritual is to draw a ladle full of water from a water bowl at a facility called a "chozu-ya" or "temizu-ya", and perform the ritual in a series of manners. If water is not available, however, plants may be used to rub hands or wipe the mouth. In addition to hana-temizu, there are also kusa-temizu, which uses green grass leaves, shiba-temizu, which uses dead leaves, and yuki-temizu, which uses snow.

I had only known of the former, but I have learned that the latter, which expresses the ancient spirit of purifying oneself before entering the sanctuary in any case, is a must, and I will enjoy the gorgeous, beautiful, and new culture of hana-chozu while respecting etiquette.

Sumiyoshi Shrine
Otaru Showroom