An Ascetic Rite of Spring: The Nagatoro Fire Festival (Japan in Photos)

A monk traverses a river of flames during the Nagatoro Fire Festival on March 5 in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture. Adherents of mountain asceticism observed the religious rite of spring by chanting Buddhist scriptures while trudging barefoot across an eight-by-four-meter bed of blazing wood and red-hot coals. Spectators were allowed to participate after the fire died down, with a journey across the smoldering ashes thought to bring good fortune and ward off evil.

Saitama festival Chichibu