Year-end clean-up at Japan's World Heritage bridge

The traditional ritual took place on Wednesday at the vermilion lacquered bridge that serves as the entrance to the Futarasan Shrine and other shrines and temples.

The 28-meter-long Shinkyo, the sacred bridge, is above the Daiya River.

After snowfall last night in Nikko City, the bridge was lightly covered with snow.

Five priests and maidens from the shrine wearing masks and gloves used long bamboo brooms to sweep dust on the bridge.

One priest said that as he cleaned, he looked back on 30 years of the current Heisei era, as imperial succession is scheduled for next year.