Traditional New Year's Festival Held In Sea

Traditional New Year's festival held in sea

People in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, have enjoyed a unique New Year's festival in which they parade portable shrines in the sea.

About 150 people gathered in the city of Takahagi to carry the 2 shrines, or "mikoshi" in Japanese, on their shoulders. One weighs about 150 kilograms and the other 300 kilograms.

They marched along a road toward the sea, about one kilometer from the main shrine.
As the sun rose, they waded into the cold ocean.

The ritual is held to pray for happiness and good fortune in the new year.

A participant in his 20s said the water was freezing. He added he was able to carry the shrine in good spirits and thinks he can make 2019 a good year.