Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is planning a partial easing of COVID-19 restrictions that will allow the public to participate in the Shunye Torch Ceremony during the main event from March 1 to 14.

Known as "Omizutori," this ceremony, which began in 752, will mark its 1,273rd installment. The preliminary "koro bekka" ritual, conducted by 11 monks known as "rengyoshu," will begin on February 20. During the main event, these monks will carry torches to Nigatsudo Shrine, asking forgiveness for people's sins and praying for world peace in front of an 11-sided image of Kannon, the temple's main deity.

Spectators will be able to explore the inner sanctum sanctorum "najin" and other parts of Nigatsudo. They will be able to see the magnificent procession of "otaimatsu" torches from the field in front of the temple. In case of overflow, they will be directed to a second vantage point. Observers will also be able to follow the ritual from the "tsubone" space inside the temple, but will be required to wear a mask and remain silent.

The culmination of the ceremony, a procession with large "kago-taimatsu" torches, will be shown to the public on March 12, but access to the viewing area may be limited due to expected crowds of koshia worshipers. It should be noted that the special procession has been closed to the public since 2021 due to the pandemic.