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Updated: January 31, 2020
Takaosan Yakuoin is an old Buddhist temple located at the top of Mt. Takaosan. It is widely known for being one of the Kanto region's three main temples of the Chisan sect of Shingon Buddhism. The other two are Mt. Naritasan's Shinshoji Temple and Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple in Kawasaki.
The temple's annual fire-walking festival is held annually on the second Sunday of March. The event is one example of traditional asceticism practiced by a certain type of Buddhist monk called yamabushi. At the festival, worshippers pray for safety for their families and themselves, as well as for protection from traffic accidents. They then follow the yamabushi as they walk barefoot over smoldering coals produced by a sacred fire. The main highlight of the event is seeing the monks walk through the flames as they chant.
At the end of the ritual, after the flames are fully extinguished, you can try fire-walking for yourself. The temperature of the coals will be only slightly warmer than body temperature at that point, so there's no need to worry about getting burned. If you do participate, it's a good idea to bring a wet towel you can use to wipe off your feet afterward.