These strange looking guys in photo are actually meditating KOMUSO monks 虚無僧 こむそう; who are members of a Fuke 普化禪 sect of ZEN of Buddhism which all but died out in 1871 but still has a handful of modern followers.
You may have seen them in Japanese movies or in some Japanese festivals wearing their characteristic straw basket head wear (a sedge or reed hood named a tengai) and playing the shakuhachi 尺八 (しゃくはち (a type of Japanese bamboo flute)
The Komuso monks go from from house to house begging for alms in exchange for a “blessing” to rid the house of (or protect it from) evil.
Following the Meiji restoration, the new government of Japan banned the practice of Fuke Zen and playing the shakuhachi for religious reasons because in practice many spies, informers, samurai, ninja, thieves and gangsters disguised themselves as Komuso monks to avoid detection or cause trouble.
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