Genkakuji is a small Jodo Buddhist temple which is 3 to 5 minutes away from Korakuen Station of the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and Namboku Line, or from Kasuga Station of the Toei Oedo Line and Mita Line.
This temple enshrines in a building in its precincts Buddhist deity Enma, which is equivalent to Hindu deity Yama. Every year, from January 15 to 16 and July 15 to 16, rituals called the Enma Reitaisai is dedicated to this deity. The only thing for a foreigner to see at these occasions is the fire walking which is held either on 15th or 16th of January.
Fire Walking at Genkakuji
On the morning of either January 15th or 16th, the Hiwatari, or the fire walking is held at this shrine. Though fire walking is practiced a dozen times or so around Tokyo in a year, this one is the most easiest to access, though not so large.
A fire to walk accross is prepared in front of a makeshift altar.
A yamabushi monk splashing hot water to his face. This process is called yukaji.
The hiwatari, or the fire walking, is practiced after that.
Festival dedicated to Enma
Enma is worshipped as the judge and the king of the underworld who decides which world, hell or heaven, the newly dead should go in Japanese Buddhism. It is said that even torturers of hell rest punishing sinners on the 16th of Shogatsu (new year) and Bon, which is the 16th of January and July. Like Genkakuji Temple, some Buddhist temples worshipping Enma practice rituals on this day.
Access: 3-min walk from Kasuga or Korakuen Station of subway lines