Shrine worshippers wish for pet animals' health

Pet owners visited a Shinto shrine in Kumamoto Prefecture, western Japan, for an annual event to wish for the good health of their loved animals.

People visited Kumairi-Wakamiya Shrine in the city of Yamaga on Wednesday with their pet dogs, cats, and goats. They had their pets undergo a purification ritual.

The pet owners purchased charms made of bamboo grass that grow naturally in the shrine's precinct.

The event originates from a legend involving a prominent samurai, Kato Kiyomasa, who was the lord of Kumamoto Castle around the late 1500s.

The legend says that Kato's sick horse recovered after being given bamboo grass at the shrine.

A woman who visited the shrine with her Chihuahua said she prayed for the good health of her pet dog and an early end to the coronavirus pandemic.