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May. 2016

Isaki Pole Diving

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Isaki pole diving is a Buddhist rite held on the 1st of August every year at Isakiji Temple, located 9.2km to the north of JR Omi-Hachiman Station.
A thick, square 13m pole protrudes out in parallel to Lake Biwa, about 7 meters above the water.
On the day of the event young trainees at the temple dive boldly from the end of the pole, or drop into the water after hanging by their feet from the metal ring also attached to it.
The rite is said to date back more than 1100 years, to when the monk Konryu Daishi trained at the temple.
He would throw a bowl down onto the lake in order to collect charity from the fishermen below, and then dive down into the water to pick it up again.