The BBC Travel series Why We Are What We Are examines Hishaku, the purification ritual originating from the Shinto:

Examples of ritual purification abound in everyday life. Before entering a Shinto shrine, worshippers rinse their hands and mouth in a stone water basin at the entrance. Many Japanese take their new car to the shrine to be purified by the priest, who uses a feather duster-like wand called onusa that he waves around the car. He then opens the doors, bonnet and boot to purify the interior. The priest also purifies people by waving the onusa from side to side over them. He will even use it to purify land on which new building is about to commence.

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