Shrines are cooling off from the summer heat by taking the art of flower arrangement to a whole new level.

When visiting a Shinto shrine in Japan, one of the first steps patrons take before praying is a ritual of spiritual cleansing by washing and rinsing their hands and mouth. This symbolic act takes place at the chouzuya, which is a fountain or water basin typically stationed near the shrine’s entrance.

However, with the spread of COVID-19, many shrines have temporarily forgone the centuries-old tradition, opting for the use hand sanitizer instead. Since that has left many water basins unused, shrines have taken to transforming these stone pools of water into gorgeous works with the art of flower arrangement.

One photographer based in Fukuoka, @ramumi8, has caught the attention of the Japanese Internet with their vivid videos and photos of the phenomenon.

“Flowers floating at Dazaifu Tenman-gu! They look like they’re suspended on top of a large pool.”

“So many fluffy flowers at Dazaifu Tenman-gu. It’s honestly such a great feeling to see the hydrangeas floating gently on the water.”

The act of arranging flower heads within water basins is dubbed hanachouzu, literally the words for “flower” and “water basin” together. Many of these stunning flower arrangements include a popular summer perennial: the rotund, fluffy hydrangea.

“Looking over a hanachouzu arrangement at Kasuga Shrine in Tagawa, Fukuoka prefecture!”

“Hanachouzu at Miyajidake Shrine! While searching for the hanachouzu display, it was fun exploring the shrine grounds.”

“My second time viewing hanachouzu at Miyajidake Shrine in Fukuoka. Even though all the flowers they use are pretty, this particular arrangement got my heart going!”

While hanachouzu isn’t necessarily a new trend, and there exist multiple shrines which practice it every year with novel arrangements, it’s understandable how pictures showing the delicate balance of bright blooms floating on clear pristine water have taken over Japanese Twitter.

Many photos may show seasonal favorites like hydrangeas, but other flowers such as gerberas have also been included in these eye-catching displays.

“Seeing the tightly packed gerberas in this large basin cheers me up so much!”

▼ And if you’re ever traveling to Japan during the fall, the sight of scarlet and orange leaves floating on top of a chouzuya also makes for a deep impression.

If you’re interested in checking out a local hanachouzu arrangement, be sure to confirm when the shrine will be hosting the floating flower display, as hanachouzu arrangements only last as long as their flowers. For the best photos, it’s suggested to visit participating shrines during the morning as flowers will be at their most fresh then.

And remember, if you intend to pray, there’s no such thing as a designated amount of yen you have to offer!

Source, images: Twitter/@ramumi8
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!