Karmic cleansing

Every year, hundreds of worshippers help clean this giant sleeping Buddha at Nanzoin Temple, in the southern Japanese town of Sasaguri. Using bamboo leaves fixed to five-metre poles, temple followers clean the face of the Shaka Nehan (nirvana) statue—said to be the world’s largest reclining bronze Buddha. Afterward, they pray for good health in the new year. The statue, completed in 1995, is 41 m long and weighs in at more than 300 tonnes.