An ancient Buddhist ritual to pray for peace in the country was held in Kyoto amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Goshichinichi Mishiho ritual was conducted for a week from Jan. 8 by high-ranked monks who had tested negative for the coronavirus. The ritual was started in 835 by Kukai, who established the Shingon school of Buddhism in Japan.
On Jan. 8, the Vajrayana rite began at Toji temple after a special garment of the Emperor was delivered. The monks then walked in procession to Kanjoin temple to perform the week-long service there.
With COVID-19 running rampant, some 130 monks and support staff took PCR tests at the start of the year, and all of them were confirmed negative.
The New Year rituals traditionally take place in two parts, with the Shinto rite held Jan. 1-7 and the Buddhist one Jan. 8-14.
More from the Kyoto Shimbun: