Residents of quake-hit Japanese city visit graves on spring equinox

People in quake-devastated Wajima City, central Japan, offered their prayers at their family graves on Wednesday to mark the spring equinox.

The day is a national holiday that falls in the middle of the Buddhist "higan" period, when people remember their deceased relatives.

The graveyard of Jomyoji Temple in Wajima suffered extensive damage from the New Year's Day quake. More than two months on, many of the gravestones remain toppled or dislodged.

Local residents were visiting the graveyard from early in the morning. Some offered flowers at collapsed gravestones.

A Wajima resident in his 70s visiting with his wife said their house sustained heavy damage, but no one was hurt. He said he offered prayers to convey his appreciation.

A man in his 80s said he asked for his ancestors' help for restoration efforts. He said he hopes the town will rebuild so that young people can return someday.

The temple's chief priest, Kishi Keigo, said it is normally visited by many people at this time of the year. He said it's sad to see the number drop this year, adding that he hopes more people will visit soon.