The Purification Deer at Japan’s Kasuga Shrine

I took today’s photo near the entrance to Kasuga Taisha (Shrine), in Nara, Japan.

16G21 Deer fountain

Purification fountains sit near the entrance to Shinto shrines, providing a place for worshippers and visitors to ritually purify their hands and mouths (by rinsing) before entering the shrine. Many of these fountains are simple and natural, a stone basin fed by a stream or a bamboo fountain. The fountain outside Kasuga Taisha emerges from a bamboo “pipe” in the mouth of a deer, no doubt a reference to the sacred deer that inhabit Nara park.