Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mt Takao Hiwatari Festival/ FireWalk

I've heard a lot about Monks who walk across hot coals.  Occasionally will even reference it on sitcoms or other shows.  The office has a funny episode where Michael challenges people to walk across hot coals.  When I heard about the Mt. Takao Hiwatari Festival where the monks actually do an annual fire walk and they walk across the hot coals I knew we had to go.

We got there about an hour and a half early to get a good spot to see the ceremony.  And it was a ceremony.  There was over an hour of chanting and other symbolic things going on that I really didn't understand at all.  After the hour and a half wait to even start the kids struggled to sit through it all.  But once they started the fire things got more exciting.

In the below picture you can see the crowds.  I am so disappointed but I accidentally deleted the pictures off my nicer camera.  I had some good shots too.  So you will have to make due with the couple I quickly took with my phone and the video Tucker made.  The video is pretty good.
The fire was huge and we could really feel the heat.  Once it got going the smoke covered half the audience for a good while.  The wind was on our side though, and we didn't get too much wind our way.

I love being adventurous and trying knew things so I was thrilled when I found out that after the Monks walk across they open it up to the public to participate.  Calista and I took a selfie after we walked through.
The kids were scared to do it, but I told them they had to.  I'm kind of mean like that.  No one got burned so it wasn't like I was torturing them.  But once you step out they do not want you to stop walking, for obvious reasons.  So when a couple of kids started but got scared a monk came over and walked with them across.  It was cool that they were personally escorted across the coals by a real monk.  Once we made it across we were lead to some sort of monk who I think gave us a special type of blessing.  Like I said before I really didn't know what was going on, but was just along for the ride.
It was such a fun experience and one of the few times since I've been in Japan that I got to experience something that truly felt like part of their culture.  It was like the Monks were doing their thing with or without the giant crowd of people watching.

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