Buddhist priests wipe dust and grime from the three Yakushi-Sanzon statues in Yakushiji temple in Nara on Dec. 29. The statues are designated by the government as national treasures. (Video taken by Ryo Kato)

NARA--Buddhist statues at Yakushiji temple here got their annual end-of-year cleaning Dec. 29.

The temple's priests were joined by 150 or so worshipers in the main hall of the temple for the ritual, called “Ominugui” (literally, “wiping bodies”).

The hall enshrines the three Yakushi-Sanzon statues.

The priests were responsible for cleaning the statues from the heads to the legs and even the pedestals with material called “jofu” (purification cloth), while others were chanting Hannya-Shingyo sutras.

Volunteer university students also pitched in.

When the work was over, the statues were gleaming again.