Pilgrims plunge into ice bath for Shinto ritual

These pilgrims are performing a Shinto ritual

which involves plunging into an ice bath

Location: Tokyo, Japan

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 47-YEAR-OLD PARTICIPANT, NAOAKI YAMAGUCHI, SAYING:"Normally we have more participants and it makes the water temperature a little bit warmer. But this year, there were just twelve people, so the coldness was crazy."

The ritual is said to purify souls

and is held every year in January