Fire Walking at Tagesan Fudoson

Buddhist monks walking on fire is an eye-catching event we love to see. Today I went to Tagesan Fudoson (多気山不動尊) by Mt. Tage (多気山) in Utsunomiya city. It's a Shingon school (真言宗) Buddhist temple that is said to be established in A.D. 822 by Sonchin (尊鎮), one of the disciples of Monk Sho-do (勝道上人). Hayagriva/Bato Kannon (馬頭観音) used to be worshipped there until A.D. 1355 but Utsunomiya Castle Lord, Kintsuna Utsunomiya (宇都宮公綱), transferred Acala/Fudo Myo-oh (不動明王) to the temple. Due to this Buddhist guardian, this temple is called "Fudoson (= a temple worshipping Fudo Myo-oh".

Last year we went to see a fire-performance done by Buddhist monks at Kobugahara Mt. Kongo Zuihoji temple (古峯原金剛山瑞峯寺) in Kanuma city (鹿沼市) and posted an article in our another blog, Budget Trouble. Practically what I saw today at Tagesan Fudoson is very similar to that event performed at Zuihoji temple.

This is an entry for Show Me Japan Vol 1, Issue 25. If you want to see nice photos taken in Japan, don't forget to visit!!!


  1. Wow! This image tells such a story of a drama many of us will never observe first hand. You have captured so much that puts us right in the moment...the facial expression and body position, the flying ash, the background distorted by heat waves. This is an example of exceptional photojournalism.

  2. Exceptional photo and great to have you back!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  3. Excellent and extraordinary image, I like it very much! It could be not easy to run on that hot ground!

  4. Wow! I can feel the action by looking at your photo.

    And the heat that can be seen. Hot!

  5. I think I would love to see such a ceremony, but then I think I would freak out. I admire the Buddhist monks so much. This shot tell it all. Beautiful.

  6. Oh, my, I find myself staring at the faces. their expressions tell stories in themselves, and the ripples of heat current visible on the upper left of the photo - this is awesome photography Yoshi. I'm wondering what is the meaning of what they carry in their arms? a most interesting image. and moving too. have a wonderful week Yoshi!!!

  7. す、すごい迫力ですね! 巻き上がる灰、袖の膨らみ、熱気でゆがむ観客の顔。熱さに絶えながら一気に走り抜けた修験者の表情まですべて捕えられたいて圧巻です。そん中、頭に付けられた黒いお揃いの被り物がとても気になります。

  8. You caught a great great moment!! Look at his face, smoke and embers!! Photo speaks itself eloquently!
    On 節分, I watched similar ritual in 元興寺 Gango-ji Temple in Nara-machi.
    As you wrote, they told us Fudo Myo-oh was invited to this ritual. And crossing the fire means to unite with Fudo Myo-oh.
    But, this crossing the fire is far more dynamic.
    I hope to see this!

  9. From the really short time I have read your blog, and looked at your photos, this is my favorite. It is absolutely dynamic and full of motion! Well done!


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