Female Buddhist monk Koyu Osawa, winner of the Handsomest Monk Contest, bows to spectators as she takes part in the contest at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo this week.
The contest, held on Monday, saw two Buddhist monks and a nun strolling down a catwalk, showing off talents such as karate moves and answering questions. Its aim was to make Buddhist practitioners more approachable and less solemn.
Miss Osawa was voted the spectators' favourite at the event organised by Obosan.com, or "Monks.com", a Web-based provider of Buddhist services such as performing rites for funerals and marriages.
About 90 million people in Japan consider themselves to be Buddhists. However many aspects of the religion do not affect their everyday lives. Japanese people usually meet monks at funerals or during New Year ceremonies to pray or to ward off evil.