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Mie: Participants endure cold and heat to purify themselves; Location where Iga Ninjas trained

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants purify themselves in the cold water of a waterfall pool at Akame 48 Waterfalls in Nabari, Mie Prefecture.

NABARI, Mie – Twenty-eight people took part in an annual purification ritual at Akame 48 Waterfalls in Nabari, Mie Prefecture, standing in a waterfall pool to cleanse themselves.

The participants were invited by a local non-profit organization.

The Akame 48 Falls consists of numerous waterfalls in a 4-kilometer gorge upstream of the Takigawa River. It is said to be the place where Iga ninjas trained to hone their skills.

After praying for everyone’s safety at a temple at the entrance to the gorge, the participants, dressed in white, stepped into the waterfall pool, followed by a monk blowing a conch shell. They squatted for a few minutes in the cold water, up to their shoulders, clasping their hands.

After emerging from the water, participants endured the heat by walking barefoot on burning firewood while offering prayers. The participants’ families followed suit if they wished.

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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants walk over burning firewood.

A 53-year-old man from Nagoya said he took part in the ritual with his friends to pray for his son to pass the national veterinary exam.

“The water was so painfully cold,” he said. “I tried to clear my mind as I walked over the firewood, but it was still hot.”

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