An inside look at Japan's largest (nearly) naked festival

posted on February 15, 2016

Every third Saturday in February is Okayama Prefecture's Hadaka Matsuri, Japan's largest "naked festival." Get ready to get naked!

In what continually proves to be a popular spectator event for ladies, the hadaka matsuri features over 9,000 men wearing just loincloths and tabi socks attempting to prove their manhood. The goal is to be the lucky guy to grab the shingi, a stick of sacred wood, thrown into the crowd by a priest standing in the rafters of Saidaiji City's Kannon-in temple.

Saidaiji City celebrated the 500th anniversary of the naked festival in 2009 and the event is still going strong. The extravaganza is a splendid concoction of alcohol, nearly naked men, subzero temperatures and a dash of the matsuri cheer wasshoi!

Dozens of groups of local men, representing their neighborhood or local club, participate in the event every year. And most have been planning their strategies months ahead of time. The idea is for one of their group members to catch the sacred shingi when it is dropped at exactly 10 p.m. after a short period of total darkness. The lucky man who can catch - and manage to hold on to - the shingi will enjoy a year of health, wealth and prosperity.

The festival this year is February 20. Male foreign visitors can sign up on the day of the festival. Just look for the sign-up tent. Fundoshi and tabi socks are available on site for 1,000 yen (US$8.80) each or in the shops lining Gofuku street.

Tip: The event is free for spectators, however if you want to get closer for better photographs, pay the 500 yen fee to get ringside (US$4.40). It's definitely worth it!

After the festival, around 11:30 or so, foreigners tend to go to Pinball Cafe or the Aussie Bar in Okayama City. There you may even get to talk to some of the previously unclad participants!

Directions: To get to Saidaiji City, transfer from the JR Okayama Station to the Ako Line and get off at Saidaiji Station.

source by rocketnews24
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