The other day, I visited a Japanese soba restaurant. Before I walked in, I noticed something. A pile of salt. This is called “mori shio” (or also seen as “morijio”) 盛り塩 (literally, “mori” is pile, and “shio” is salt). Not so typical here in Okinawa, though perhaps much more common to see in mainland Japan. Salt is used in plenty of rituals here in Okinawa as well as placed at the hinukan, but by the front of a business it is not a very common site.
There were 2 dishes, each with a neat little white mound of salt, on either side of the entrance to restaurant.
So why was it here? This is a practice still common today in Japan, leaving little cone shaped mounds of salt on small dishes set on the ground by the threshold of a restaurant, shop, or other business (or even a residence). This means the place has been purified/cleansed and it is hoped to attract customers.