9-Headed-Dragon Shinto Water Purification Basin (HDR Photo)
Nestled near the foot of Mt Hakone, on the premises of Hakone Shrine, is a shrine dedicated to a very interesting legend. That legend tells the tale of a Shinto Buddhist monk using his mystical powers to banish a 9 headed dragon from Lake Ashi. The dragon was inflicting great damage on Hakone.
9-Headed-Dragon Water Purification Basin
Instead of being a menace to the area, after the monks exorcism, the dragon became a guardian spirit. The dragon spirit is honoured every year.
Every year in summer a ritual is performed on the lake near the shrine, where a Shinto priest feeds special red rice, enough to feed the nine heads of the dragon.九 = く, ku (nine) 頭 = ず, zu (head) 龍 = りゅう, ryū (dragon)
The temizuya and shrine are a relatively new addition to Hakone Shrine. Kuzuryu-jinja was built in 1988, the year of the dragon.
Read more about Kuzuryu-jinja in Hakone.
Interested in visiting Hakone Shrine? See the Hakone Shrine travel guide.
Location of the kuzuryū-no-temizuya: