Use the

Planning a Trip to Japan?

Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp


Kanchu Misogi Festival

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Kanchu Misogi Festival


A dramatic Shinto ritual of ablution in the icy waters of Hokkaido

Kikonai Town, Hokkaido



A tradition of Samegawa Shrine in Hokkaido, the Kanchu Misogi Festival follows the rigorous training of four Shinto ascetic practitioners as they prepare to take sacred icons from the shrine and purify them in the icy waters of the Tsugaru Strait. As a prayer for a forthcoming good harvest, the festival is performed every year in the sub-zero temperatures of mid-winter.


On January 13, the chosen ascetics, dressed only in loincloths, purify themselves by dousing each other with pails of ice cold water in the frosty outdoors. Come rain or shine, or even snow, they repeat the ritual several times throughout the day and night over two days.


On January 15, the four men each take a sacred icon from the shrine and parade to Misogi beach, before throwing themselves into the Tsugaru Strait to vigorously splash the icy waters at each other.


This unusual test of endurance dates back to 1831, when a shrine attendant dreamed that he should bathe a sacred icon in the Tsugaru waters, a deed that is said to have brought the region bountiful catches of fish. Onlookers who are lucky enough to be splashed by the water are also believed to be blessed with eternal happiness.


How to get there


JR Kikonai Station is about 4 hours from Tokyo Station via the Shinkansen bullet train. From JR Kikonai Station, it is a 10-minute walk to Misogi Beach.


Shinmichi, Kikonai-cho, Kamiiso-gun, Hokkaido




Kikonai Tourist Information




More Information


Hokkaido Prefecture | JNTO Official Website



Please Choose Your Language

Browse the JNTO site in one of multiple languages