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Living Information

Read the Signs: Washing your hands at a shrine


看板を読もう「 手水の使い方」

Temizu0_350x233.jpgSome shrines have signs to remind visitors that even the act of washing your hands when visiting a shrine is a ritual to be observed.

(*COVID-19 concerns have prompted the suspension of this tradition at many shrines.)

Key expressions

手 te (hand)

水 mizu (water)

左 hidari (left)

右 migi (right)

柄杓 hishaku (ladle; scoop)

清める/清めます kiyomeru / kiyomemasu (to purify; to cleanse; to exorcise)


手水 temizu / chōzu (water for washing hands)

~の使い方 ~ no tsukaikata (how to use ~)


まず mazu (first)

右手で migi te de (in / with your right hand)

持ち mochi (take; hold)

すくい sukui (scoop up)

左手に hidari te ni (over / on to your left hand)

かけ kake (pour over)


次に tsugi ni (next; then)

持ちかえ mochikae (take / hold in the other hand)


清めた kiyometa (past tense of 清める)

うけて ukete (catch; receive)

口 kuchi (mouth)

すすぎます susugimasu (rinse out)


すすいだ水 susuida mizu (water with which you rinsed out your mouth)

地面に jimen ni (on the ground)

そっと sotto (discreetly)

吐き出して hakidashite (spit out)

下さい kudasai (please)


再度 saido (again)

最後に saigo ni (last; finally)

縦にしながら tate ni shinagara (holding vertically)

残り nokori (remaining)

全体 zentai (whole [of the ladle])

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