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Kashima-jingū - the water shrine
We went to Kashimajingu, a shrine of Kashima city in Ibaraki prefecture. The shrine is very old, what you can see on all the shrine buildings. However, there are very unusual things about this shrine that make it very special. There is a gate in the water on the shrine grounds, which creates a very scary mystical atmosphere, especially in the morning, when the light is right. This location is also used for the Misogi ceremony, which is a Shinto cleaning ritual that takes place twice a year. Woman dress a wise kimono and men with a white headband and a white lumbar protector. The faithful purify themselves by going deep into the freezing cold water in which the gate is located, and splash themselves with the sacred water. Unfortunately we were a bit late at the shrine to see the ceremony, but we still saw many of the participants in their white clothes. But I'm really impressed that they´ve been inside the ice-cold water at only 8 degrees outside. The region is unfortunately very often hit by earthquakes Therefore, the deity of the city Kashima is especially known to control earthquakes. Somewhat secluded on the Shrine area is therefore the Kanameishi (capstone), which supposedly reaches deep into the ground. This stone allegedly holds under the earth's surface the giant catfish, which in a legend is responsible for the earthquakes.