Sprinkling Water (uchimizu)


Sprinkling Water (uchimizu)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Humanity


sprinkling water, uchimizu 打水
..... watering the street to cool it down and cover the dust.
An old cutsom during the Edo period
..... mizu o utsu, 水を打つ
..... mizumaki 水撒き


News from the Japan Times of August 18, 19, 2004.
Some Tokyoites are also turning to a more traditional way of cooling down.
Last August, citizens' groups coordinated an event in several parts of Tokyo to pour water on the streets, a practice called "uchimizu."

Tadahiro Katsuta, a member of the nonprofit group Peaceful Energy and one of the organizers, claimed about 340,000 people took part. He explained that sprinkling water on the streets was an old way to ease the summer heat, as the water absorbs ground heat when it evaporates. Temperatures measured at four event sites were down about 1 degree on average, he said.

Organizers will hold the same event for one week starting Wednesday in Tokyo and other cities, with hopes of getting 1 million people to participate. They are asking participants to use rainwater or recycled water. "It's a way of cooling cities down that anyone can do without spending a lot of money," Katsuta said.
The Japan Times: Aug. 18, 2004

Cool Tokyo campaign
Under the scorching sun, crowds clad in traditional "yukata" cotton robes gathered Wednesday in the Odaiba waterfront area to kick off a weeklong campaign of sprinkling water on asphalt and concrete to cool down Tokyo.
With buckets of water recycled from a nearby hot spring facility and the Ariake Waste Water Treatment Plant, about 250 people splashed water on the pavement in a tradition called "uchimizu," practiced since the Edo Period.

Tokyo has been sizzling through a heat wave over the past two months, with the mercury shooting up to 39.5 on July 20 during a record-breaking streak of 40 straight days of temperatures over 30 through last Saturday.
The Japan Times: Aug. 19, 2004


Read an explanation of the Japanese KIGO for the hot summer month of July
by Teiko Inahata.
Here is just a short quote:

The people have not only put up with heat in a passive way, grasping for breath, but also they have made ways for standing it by using their brains. Their ideas could be seen in such seasonal words as nooryoo (enjoying the cool of the evening), hashii (sitting on the outdoor bench for getting cool), uchimizu (sprinkling water outside the house), and fuurin (a wind bell Wind Chimes ).
These ideas have been developed in the culture deeply related to the spirit of the Japanese.


Let's UCHIMIZU to cool down summer heat !

Since 2004, the habit of sprinkling water has become very popular in Japan.
There is a homepage all for this habit.

The old custom of sprinkling water with a ladle on streets and gardens, called "UCHIMIZU", is a more well-known example of the use of water in Japan's daily living. People sprinkle water, especially in the summer time, in their house entrances and gardens or in front of their shops to lay the dust or to ease the heat. In this example, people use water to feel its coolness.

Go outside in the sun and splash water with ladle.
You may also use your hands or pour directly from watering cans or PET bottles.

Japan Water Forum

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


shukuchoku no kinmu aketaru mizu o utsu

night duty
just over



mizu utte ya semi mo suzume mo nururu hodo

sprinkling water
just enough to wet
cicadas and sparrows

Kikaku (Tr. Gabi Greve)


tsuchi ni tsubasa azukaru gotoku mizu uteri

like giving wings
to mother earth -
springling water



打ち水や 蝶の飲み場となりにけり
uchimizu ya choo no nomiba to nari ni keri

sprinkling water -
all the pretty butterflies
come for a drink

Gabi Greve, August 2006
looking at the stone floor of my garden

Related words

***** Summer (natsu, Japan)

. WATER ... a KIGO colletion

Kigo for Summer



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

mizumaki otoko 水撒き男 water-sprinkling man

in Edo !

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

kado e utsu mizu mo zeni nari edo sumai

even water sprinkled
at the gate costs money...
life in Edo

The extravagance of Edo (today's Tokyo) is one of Issa's frequent themes.
David Lanoue

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