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Mt. Takao Hiwatari-sai Festival 2021

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


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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

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.

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.

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