Hiwatari Shiki 火渡り式
A torch ablaze cypress branches.
Taiko demonstration at the Hiwatari Shiki festival.
Eleven in the morning, the sun approaches its zenith. The faithful gather by the green cypress branches in the middle of the court. The ceremony begins with an offertory procession accompanied by the singing of Buddhist sutras. Two monks are advancing, seize their bows and each shoot seven arrows above the other's hairless head. The crowd jostles to get a good view. After, the powerful sounding of a conch calms everyone down. It is one o'clock, and a torch carrying the eternal flame is brought from Reika-do lodge on Mount Misen to make a fire.
Thick white smoke announces the start of the main event. After the embers cool, the senior monk walks across the hot coals. Monks cross bare foot chanting prayers. Visitors can do so on request ... and get their moment in the spotlight.