Best time to go to Tokyo

Mt. Takao Hiwatari-sai Festival 2020

Don't miss a chance to see a fire-walking festival on Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao Hiwatari-sai Festival in Tokyo 2019 - Best Time
Photo by

© Kaz Empson

Every year on the second Sunday in March, barefooted monks walk through a burning fire while chanting prayers at the foot of Mt. Takao, on the western outskirts of the city. This spectacular sight tells a lot about Japanese culture and traditions.

Mt. Takao Hiwatari-sai Festival in Tokyo - Best Season 2019
Best time for Mt. Takao Hiwatari-sai Festival in Tokyo 2019

The festival starts when a huge bonfire is lit. Monks rub their bodies with sticks, that they later put in the fire. Then the monks which are called yamabushi walk on hot coals. You can also try how that feels but only when the the coals cool down a little.

Mt Takao like many sacred mountains has a Buddhist temple, called Yakuo-in. The Hiwatari-sai ritual held by monks is supposed to symbolize purification.