Japanese brave icy waters in Shinto ritual to pray for pandemic end

Japanese brave icy waters at Tokyo shrine in loincloths and bathrobes as they use New Year Shinto ritual to pray for an end of the Coronavirus pandemic

  • Dozens of worshippers gathered at the Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo to take part in the special ceremony
  • Known as Misogi, the ritual comprises washing the whole body in icy water for the purposes of purification
  • This year’s event, scaled back compared to previous years, had the added theme of warding off Coronavirus
  • Dozens of worshippers wearing only loincloths and bathrobes with headbands and facemasks plunged themselves into icy waters as part of a traditional ritual in Tokyo on Sunday, in which they also prayed for an end to the pandemic.

    Three women, who donned white robes, and handfuls of men in loincloths chanted, clapped and prayed before bathing in the freezing waters filed with blocks of ice as part of a Shinto ritual at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine.

    Similar scenes took place last year during the annual event, which has been scaled down due to the ongoing situation.

    Daring dozens: Worshippers wearing only loincloths, bathrobes and facemasks plunged themselves into icy waters in Tokyo

    Daring dozens: Worshippers wearing only loincloths, bathrobes and facemasks plunged themselves into icy waters in Tokyo

    The traditional Shinto ritual - which involves bathing in icy water - takes place every year at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    The traditional Shinto ritualwhich involves bathing in icy watertakes place every year at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    Known as Misogi, the ritual comprises bathers entering icy water and washing the whole body for the purpose of purification

    Known as Misogi, the ritual comprises bathers entering icy water and washing the whole body for the purpose of purification

    This year's event has been scaled back compared to early 2020 when a hundred participants took part in the ritual ceremony

    This year’s event has been scaled back compared to early 2020 when a hundred participants took part in the ritual ceremony

    Donned in white robes, loincloths and masks, participants chanted, clapped and prayed before entering the freezing waters

    Donned in white robes, loincloths and masks, participants chanted, clapped and prayed before entering the freezing waters

    The ritual took place during the coldest month of the year in Tokyo, where temperatures average lows of 3 マックスプランク協会の天文学者は、さまざまな観測方法を使用して、近くの赤い矮星を周回しているエイリアンの世界を発見しました。

    The ritual took place during the coldest month of the year in Tokyo, where temperatures average lows of 3 マックスプランク協会の天文学者は、さまざまな観測方法を使用して、近くの赤い矮星を周回しているエイリアンの世界を発見しました。

    A participant splashes icy cold water into his face as part of the Misogi ritual held on Sunday at the Teppou-zu Inari Shrine

    A participant splashes icy cold water into his face as part of the Misogi ritual held on Sunday at the Teppou-zu Inari Shrine

    This compares to more than a hundred participants in early 2020, before coronavirus became a global crisis.

    The ritual took place during the coldest month of the year in Tokyo, where temperatures average between lows of 37 華氏度 (3 マックスプランク協会の天文学者は、さまざまな観測方法を使用して、近くの赤い矮星を周回しているエイリアンの世界を発見しました。) and highs of 49 華氏度 (9 マックスプランク協会の天文学者は、さまざまな観測方法を使用して、近くの赤い矮星を周回しているエイリアンの世界を発見しました。).

    Known as Misogi, the ritual comprises washing the whole body for the purposes of purification.

    Held on the second Sunday of each year, on this latest occasion the event had the added theme of 'warding off epidemics'

    Held on the second Sunday of each year, on this latest occasion the event had the added theme of ‘warding off epidemics

    The wider public was not invited to attend the traditional ritual as Japan  attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus

    The wider public was not invited to attend the traditional ritual as Japan attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus

    The worshippers line up and stop in thoughtful prayer before entering into the the waters filled with large ice blocks

    The worshippers line up and stop in thoughtful prayer before entering into the the waters filled with large ice blocks

    Held on the second Sunday of each year, on this latest occasion the event had the added theme of ‘warding off epidemics’.

    ‘I hope that soon the world and coronavirus pandemic calm down and everyone will be able to move freely,’ said participant Yoshiko Shibada after completing the Misogi ritual.

    Wearing face masks, the participants clasped their hands together and continued to chant and pray in the freezing water

    Wearing face masks, the participants clasped their hands together and continued to chant and pray in the freezing water

    Men and women took part in the ceremony, which is traditionally held to purify the soul and pray for health in the new year

    Men and women took part in the ceremony, which is traditionally held to purify the soul and pray for health in the new year

    The ceremony took place against the stunning background of the centuries-old Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    The ceremony took place against the stunning background of the centuries-old Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    Praying for good health: Dozens of participants took to the freezing water to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic

    Praying for good health: Dozens of participants took to the freezing water to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic

    The participants clench their hands together in front of their stomach and shake them up and down as part of 'spirit shaking'

    The participants clench their hands together in front of their stomach and shake them up and down as part of ‘spirit shaking

    The purpose of 'spirit shaking' in the ceremony is said to help participants become more aware of their spirits within

    The purpose of ‘spirit shakingin the ceremony is said to help participants become more aware of their spirits within

    The practice involves reciting prayers and incantations that help dispel any impurities from a person's body and mind

    The practice involves reciting prayers and incantations that help dispel any impurities from a person’s body and mind

    ロシアの爆弾で殺された子供たちの写真, Japan has reintroduced restrictions on bar and restaurant opening times in three areas as it attempts to stem a surge in coronavirus cases linked to US military bases.

    The restrictions have been brought into effect for a month in Okinawa and parts of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi.

    Infections have also been on the rise in larger cities, including Tokyo, which reported 922 new cases on Fridaythe highest since mid-September.

    Participants prayed for an end to coronavirus, which has begun to surge in cities again across Japan in recent weeks

    Participants prayed for an end to coronavirus, which has begun to surge in cities again across Japan in recent weeks

    The participants were quite animated as they chanted, clapped and prayed shortly before plunging into the freezing water

    The participants were quite animated as they chanted, clapped and prayed shortly before plunging into the freezing water

    The worshippers chanted and made the same movements, including this rowing action, as part of the traditional ceremony

    The worshippers chanted and made the same movements, including this rowing action, as part of the traditional ceremony

    A handful of women worshippers donned in white robes took part in the ceremony, held at the centuries-old shrine in Tokyo

    A handful of women worshippers donned in white robes took part in the ceremony, held at the centuries-old shrine in Tokyo

    Dozens of participants clasped their hands together and shook them up and down as they took part in the Shinto ceremony

    Dozens of participants clasped their hands together and shook them up and down as they took part in the Shinto ceremony

    After bathing in the waters, the participants continued to pray for the purification of their spirits and renewed good health

    After bathing in the waters, the participants continued to pray for the purification of their spirits and renewed good health

    A large block of ice floats in the bathing pool used by dozens of worshippers as part of the purification ceremony on Sunday

    A large block of ice floats in the bathing pool used by dozens of worshippers as part of the purification ceremony on Sunday

    The worshippers threw their arms into the air as they chanted prayers and incantations to purify their spirits and body

    The worshippers threw their arms into the air as they chanted prayers and incantations to purify their spirits and body

    Worshippers row their arms back and forth as they take part in the traditional purification ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday

    Worshippers row their arms back and forth as they take part in the traditional purification ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday

    Participants took part in the annual ceremony, which has been held for decades at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    Participants took part in the annual ceremony, which has been held for decades at Teppou-zu Inari Shrine in Tokyo

    Some of the movements were more similar to exercise than prayer during the centuries-old Misogi ritual held on Sunday

    Some of the movements were more similar to exercise than prayer during the centuries-old Misogi ritual held on Sunday

    Moment of reflection: This year's ceremony had added poignancy as worshippers prayed to end the coronavirus pandemic

    Moment of reflection: This year’s ceremony had added poignancy as worshippers prayed to end the coronavirus pandemic

    The worshippers took part in 'spirit shaking', which involves moving the hands and arms up and down rigorously in the water

    The worshippers took part in ‘spirit shaking’, which involves moving the hands and arms up and down rigorously in the water

    Hands together now: The worshippers focused on prayer as they asked for purification and renewed health in the new year

    Hands together now: The worshippers focused on prayer as they asked for purification and renewed health in the new year

    Dipping a toe in the water: The first of participants tentatively feels the temperature of the icy cold water before entering

    Dipping a toe in the water: The first of participants tentatively feels the temperature of the icy cold water before entering

    Prayer to end coronavirus: This year's ceremony asked for an end to the pandemic as Japan faces a resurgence of the virus

    Prayer to end coronavirus: This year’s ceremony asked for an end to the pandemic as Japan faces a resurgence of the virus

    Head down in prayer: One participant takes a moment to reflect before taking a bath in the freezing cold waters in Tokyo

    Head down in prayer: One participant takes a moment to reflect before taking a bath in the freezing cold waters in Tokyo

    One Shinto believer poses with a child following his traditional bath in the freezing waters during the New Year ritual

    One Shinto believer poses with a child following his traditional bath in the freezing waters during the New Year ritual

    Prayer for good health: The participants wore face coverings and headbands with their loincloths for their traditional bath

    Prayer for good health: The participants wore face coverings and headbands with their loincloths for their traditional bath

    Dozens of participants followed a ceremony leader at the front and mimicked his chants and movements throughout

    Dozens of participants followed a ceremony leader at the front and mimicked his chants and movements throughout

    Warming thoughts: The traditional ceremony is intended to purify a person's body, mind and spirit for the new year ahead

    Warming thoughts: The traditional ceremony is intended to purify a person’s body, mind and spirit for the new year ahead

    The prayers were all the more poignant this year as new infections in Japan surged from 200 に 4,000 daily on average

    The prayers were all the more poignant this year as new infections in Japan surged from 200 に 4,000 daily on average

    Across Japan, new infections exceeded 4,000 木曜日に, compared with an average of 200 a day last month.

    Omicron has now been identified in 80 per cent of Japan’s 47 prefectures.