A mountain opening event was held in the highest peak in the western Japan prefecture of Kagawa in early July after the lifting of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "goma" fire ritual, the first such event in four years on 1,059-meter Mt. Ryuo, was attended in the rain by about 100 local people, who prayed for the safety of climbers during the summer climbing season.

"Goma" fire ritual at a campsite on Mt. Ryuo.

At the event, "yamabushi" strolling monks blew conch shells, recited prayers and purged negative energy using swords and bows and arrows before igniting the fire around a 1.5-meter-high altar.

White smoke and flames rose vigorously while the participants watched the "goma" wood, inscribed with wishes such as family safety, being cast into the fire.

A fire crossing ritual was also performed, and the participants walked barefoot on the hot charcoal after the altar was dismantled.

Hisafumi Fujisawa, head of the local residents' association that organized the event, expressed his desire to continue the tradition as part of the local culture. "We want climbers to enjoy the mountain safely without pushing themselves beyond their limits," he said.

The Shikoku Shimbun

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