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Before entering a Shinto shrine, visitors wash their hands and mouths as a sign of purifying themselves.  Dragons are a frequent part of the fountains at shrine entrances.  The dragon is the Guardian of the East.  In Buddhism, the dragon represents enlightenment.
Copyright © 2007, Helen and Steve Rindsberg

Before entering a Shinto shrine, visitors wash their hands and mouths as a sign of purifying themselves. Dragons are a frequent part of the fountains at shrine entrances. The dragon is the Guardian of the East. In Buddhism, the dragon represents enlightenment.