JAPAN TRAVEL: Experience Cold Water Purification Ritual at Misogi Beach in Kikonai
Misogi Beach is one of the stops you’ll make when you join a guided walking tour in Kikonai. This beach is not just an ordinary beach though, as it is where the Kanchu Misogi Festival is held– an important traditional event in Japan.
Visit the Misogi Beach in Kikonai, Hokkaido!
Held every January 13 to 15, the Kanchu Misogi Festival is a winter event that started in 1831. It is a ritual purification festival wherein chosen young men wash their entire body with freezing water in the Misogi Beach, facing the Tsugaru Strait.
The tour guide explaining the Kanchu Misogi Festival
In this ritual, these young men are prepared to get rid of their impurities by cleansing their body. This ritual is done as a way to pray for the fishermen’s good catch. These four chosen men undergo a rigid training for purification in time for the Kanchu Misogi Festival. Some of the things they are prohibited to do are to eat the meat of four-legged animals and to not shiver during the festival. These young men are carefully-chosen by fishermen’s family–and they choose men based on their strength and their pure heart.
Experience the cold water purification when in Kikonai!
If you’re set to explore the town through a guided walking tour, did you know that you can have the chance to experience this cold water purification ritual? As the tour guide explains about the Kanchu Misogi Festival at the Misogi Beach, he can show it to the tourists how it’s done! No worries though, as you may wear a raincoat to prevent yourself from being wet. Make your Kikonai Walking Tour more fun by experiencing this as you are able to purify yourself and pray for a prosperous life!
Misogi Beach in Kikonai, Hokkaido
If you wish to see the festival, visit Kikonai in January when the festival is being held. There’s a deck where you can watch the young men pass through the torii gate at the beach.
Address: Maehama, Kikonai-cho, Kamiiso-gun, Hokkaido
Contact: +81 1392-6-7357 (Kikonai Tourist Association)
This first appeared on Philippine Primer magazine’s January 2019 issue.