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.
大宰府天満宮のモコモコ巨大 花手水😊ぷかぷか浮いてる紫陽花が気持ちよさそうに見えました😌🌿💙 pic.twitter.com/ZB7HCtOdDh— ramumi8 (@ramumi8) June 16, 2020
“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.”
福岡の春日神社（田川市）花手水 を真上から臨む🤭💕 pic.twitter.com/PAEtHoBlYh— ramumi8 (@ramumi8) June 19, 2020
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.
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宮地嶽神社の花手水 4つ目 どの花手水も綺麗でしたが 私はここの花手水が1番 キュンと来ました😍 * * 実はこれ2回目行った時の写真 踏み台持って撮り直しに来た時の写真🌿 * * Location=Fukuoka,Japan * * #japan_of_insta #bestpicturesgallery #ptk_japan #retrip_nippon #instagram #jalan_travel #national_geography #bestphoto_japan #travellingthroughtheworld #earthpix #japantravelphoto #art_of_japan_ #photo_jpn #wonderful_places #hello_worldpics #bns_earth #earth_reflect #earthlandscape #earth_deluxe #best_earthscapes #ig_worldclub #japan_daytime_view #japanko_official #whim_member #tokyocameraClub #earthfocus #宮地嶽神社 #Japan #花手水 #広がり同盟
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.
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!
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