Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Man Festival)

A festival of 9,000 semi-naked men with one common goal: to touch god

The Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri, also known as the Naked Man Festival, is a unique and traditional event that takes place annually on the 13th day of the lunar calendar in Inazawa, Aichi, japan. This festival is a celebration of the Lunar New Year and is held at the Owari Okunitama-jinja Shrine, also known as the Konomiya-jinja Shrine.

The origins of this festival can be traced back about 1,250 years, making it one of the oldest festivals in Japan. It was initially established as a way to combat plague and pestilence that were prevalent during that time. The festival was believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the participants and the community as a whole.

To participate in the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri, men from all over the city gather at the shrine wearing nothing but a loincloth and a few swigs of fortifying sake to brave the winter chill. The sight of thousands of semi-naked men parading through the town is both awe-inspiring and captivating. It is a testament to the dedication and belief of the participants in their quest to touch god.

The festival begins with teams from different local groups demonstrating their strength and dexterity by carrying large bamboo poles called “naoi-zasa.” These poles are hurled into the shrine, symbolizing the participants’ determination to overcome any obstacles in their path. Spectators line the passage to the shrine, cheering on the participants and marveling at their physical prowess.

As the day progresses and the sun sets, the atmosphere becomes more intense. The participants, still wearing nothing but loincloths, endure the bone-chilling cold as they are cannoned with buckets of icy water. Despite the discomfort, they remain steadfast in their resolve, shouting their rallying cry as they await the appearance of the shin-otoko, the god-man.

The shin-otoko is a central figure in the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri. One man is chosen to fulfill this role and undergoes a period of solitude and prayer leading up to the festival. On the day of the event, he is shaved from head to toe and sent out into the crowds wearing nothing at all. The thousands of semi-naked men strive to touch the shin-otoko, believing that by doing so, they can transfer their future misfortune onto him.

The atmosphere reaches its peak when the shin-otoko is pulled into the shrine building amidst the cheers of the supporters. It is a moment of triumph and celebration, as the participants believe that they have successfully transferred their burdens to the god-man. The festival culminates with prayers and rituals inside the shrine, ensuring the community’s prosperity and well-being for the coming year.

The Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri is not only a spectacle to behold but also a reflection of the enduring traditions and beliefs of the Japanese people. It exemplifies the spirit of unity, perseverance, and devotion to a common goal. The festival serves as a reminder of the importance of community and the power of collective action in overcoming challenges.

In addition to its cultural significance, the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri also attracts tourists from around the world who are eager to witness this unique and awe-inspiring event. It offers a glimpse into the rich heritage and traditions of Japan, providing a deeper understanding of the country’s history and values.

To attend the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri, visitors can easily reach the Owari Okunitama-jinja Shrine by train. From Kanayama Station in Nagoya, they can take the Meitetsu Line to Konomiya Station, which is less than ten minutes away from the shrine. The festival typically takes place in February or March, depending on the lunar calendar, so it is essential to check the official website for the exact dates.

In conclusion, the Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri is a remarkable festival that brings together thousands of semi-naked men with a shared goal of touching god. It is a testament to the enduring traditions and beliefs of the Japanese people and serves as a symbol of unity and devotion. Attending this festival offers a unique and unforgettable cultural experience, allowing visitors to witness firsthand the power of collective action and the rich heritage of Japan.

Address And Maps Location:

1-1-1 Kounomiya, Inazawa-shi, Aichi-ken

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