On Sunday, March 8th, thousands of people made their way to Tokyo's Mt. Takao to observe a unique tradition - watching practitioners of the Shugendo religion walk across a path of smoldering embers.

Known as the Hiwatari-Matsuri festival, the annual ritual takes place at the Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple every second Sunday of March. It is performed by Shugendo's followers also called "Yamabushi" to obtain protection from misfortune and for good health and peace in the world. Visitors wishing to participate can do so at the end, when the embers have cooled to more tolerable temperatures.

Resources: telegraph.co,uk, nipponnews.com