Autumn festivals return after 3 years in Japan

Some traditional autumn events that were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic are drawing crowds again for the first time in three years.

Colorful floats have come back to Takasaki City, in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo. Organizers called on attendees of the event to take thorough measures against infection.

In the central prefecture of Nagano, children dressed as sumo wrestlers performed a ring-entering ceremony.

A "crying sumo" contest for babies was held at a shrine in the western prefecture of Tottori. Wrestlers lifted the children above their heads to pray for their good health. One of the attendees said he hopes his baby will grow up to be a healthy, kind child.

In the neighboring prefecture of Hiroshima, people relieved their stress in a screaming contest. A baseball fan cheering the local team was the winner with a roar of more than 83 decibels, as loud as an ambulance siren.

And in Kyoto, Buddhist priests from Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei chanted sutras to pray in a ceremony held at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

The ritual, which combines elements of Buddhism and Shintoism, is said to date back more than 1,000 years.

The ceremony called "Kitano Goryoe" was revived in 2020 after a long hiatus of about 550 years since the Onin War in the 15th century led to the destruction of the capital, Kyoto. Shinto and Buddhist priests prayed together for the end of the pandemic and world peace.