The Cold Water Endurance Festival is as chilling as it is soul-satisfying.
Celebrated annually by Shintoism followers, the Cold Water Endurance Festival is a two-day festival held annually at Kanda Myojin Shrine each January to honour and pay homage to Daikoku, the deity of fortune.
Believed to purify the soul, followers stand in queues in front of Tokyo’s Kanda Myojin Shinto shrine, read the ancient Japanese Liturgy with the priest and pour water on themselves for a ceremony referred to as Misogi, which is seen as a purification ritual. Women participate with equal dedication, as the ceremony is open to Shinto parishioners across all ages.
Shintoism is the largest religion in Japan, with over 100,000 Shinto shrines in the country. The followers believe that spirits called ‘Kami’ exist in the natural world and have built shrines where they can summon Kami by ringing a bell and and offering rice or money. There are many more interesting stories about Shintoism which make for an interesting read, so be sure to google them.
Next time you are in Japan during the month of January, make sure to witness this unique ritual.