Prayers for peace at fire-walking ceremony on Tokyo's Mt Takao

Practitioners of Japan's Shugendo religion walked through fire on Mount Takao in far western Tokyo on Sunday March 13. The Hiwatari or fire-walking ceremony was held at Takao-san (Mt Takao)'s Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple in Hachioji. The syncretic religion combines ascetic practices, folk religion, Shinto mountain worship, and Buddhism. Devotees walked over the fire with bare feet to pray for world peace and receive protection from misfortune and good health. Visitors were also allowed to participate at the end of the ceremony. The annual event is usually held on the second Sunday of March. While Takao-san is far from the centre of the Japanese capital it is technically part of Tokyo as it is within its metropolitan area, which is elongated to the south-west.