Tall order: Toshodaiji temple holds annual cleaning ceremony ahead of New Year

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Buddhist monks dust off a statue at Toshodaiji temple in Nara on Wednesday for the annual ominugui cleaning ceremony ahead of the New Year. In the morning, chief priest Genko Okamoto and other monks read sutras in front of the temple’s statues, some of which are national treasures. Monks and temple staff then cleaned the statues using dusters made from bamboo canes with shredded washi Japanese paper attached to one end. “I hope that next year the pandemic ends and bustle returns to the temple,” said Okamoto, who became the chief priest in spring.