Kyoto shrine visitors use hoop to pray for health

A shrine in Kyoto has set up a grass hoop for people to walk through and pray for good health this summer.

At Kamigamo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Shinto priests in white robes performed a ritual to mark the start of the annual festival on Thursday.

The hoop known as a chinowa measures 4.5 meters across. After offering prayers, 20 priests and others walked through it in a single file, moving along a figure-eight path.

People visiting the shrine also passed through the ring to pray for good health and a safe and peaceful summer.

A woman in her 70s said she prayed that she and her family will be healthy for the rest of the year. She said she wants the whole family to stay fit and have fun.

The shrine's chief priest, Tanaka Yasuhiro, says many people have been suffering since last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. He says he wants visitors to walk through the hoop and pray for good health.

The ring will be at Kamigamo Shrine until June 30.