April 1, 2020
The ‘hiwatari (火渡り)’ or fire walking rite is held across Japan by mountain monks or ‘Yamabushi’ (山伏) and is done to pray for good health in the coming year.
This particular video is held in Sendai at the Mutsu-Kokubunji temple (陸奥国分寺), locals write their wishes on ‘prayer sticks’ which are burnt in a massive bonfire. A path is made in the ashes where people can walk across to receive blessings from the Bhaisaijyaguru – or the medicine Buddha.
The rite isn’t just performed by the Yamabushi however, locals and visitors to the shrine can also pay to participate and walk over the hot ashes themselves.
This festival takes place on February 11th and is sure to heat up for your trip to Tohoku!