Japanese Endure New Year Ice Bath

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It was bitterly cold on the streets of Tokyo.

But the chill winds blowing didn't prepare these brave locals for what was to follow.

The shivering participants of "Coming of Age Day" hoped to cleanse their souls and sharpen their minds for the year ahead.

The ceremony culminated in an ice bath, a traditional Shinto purification rite.

It's a milestone event for 20-year-olds in Japan, finally able to legally drink and vote.

[Norihiro Abe, Student and Bather]:
"I will come of age this year. That's why I participated."

[Shiori Masuda, Waitress and Bather]:
"The economy is frigid, but it's not as cold as the icy water. This bath has made me want to try my best this year."

The event took place outside the city's world-famous Kanda Myojin shrine.

While the youngsters braved the elements, it was left to the older generation to mark the occasion in a rather more formal manner.

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