Mie: Participants Endure Cold, Heat to Purify Themselves; Location Said to Be Where Iga Ninjas Trained

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

NABARI, Mie — Twenty-eight people took part in an annual purification ritual at the Akame 48 Waterfalls in Nabari, Mie Prefecture, as they stood in a waterfall basin to cleanse themselves.

The participants were invited by a local nonprofit organization.

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

After praying for everyone’s safety at a temple near the entrance of the gorge, the participants, dressed in white, stepped into the waterfall basin following a monk blowing a conch shell. They crouched down into the cold water up to their shoulders for a few minutes while clasping their hands together.

After getting out of the water, the participants then endured heat by walking barefoot over burning firewood, while offering prayers. The families of the participants followed suit if they wished to do so.

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 veterinarian exam.

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