All About Japan

Getting the Dirt off Buddha's Shoulders

Temples Temples & Shrines Nara Kansai

The ritual of dusting Buddha statues took place at Horyuji temple in western Japan.

Priests first held a mass to remove the souls of the statues. Then they carefully wiped off the dust accumulated over the past year on the Buddha and other figures using dusters and brushes.

The annual event began in 1993 when the Buddhist temple was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The service is conducted to enable the icons at the temple to greet the New Year in a clean state.