Konomiya Jinja Shrine's Naked Man Festival
Aichi Prefectural Government
Every year in freezing cold February or early March thousands of men wearing only white cotton loincloths and headbands gather at Owari Okunitama Jinja Shrine, locally known as Konomiya Jinja Shrine, to perform the Hadaka Matsuri (lit. ‘Naked Festival’). This festival has been held in the city of Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, since the year 767 to dispel evil spirits and disease.
A young, local man is chosen to be the annual Shin Otoko (lit. ‘lucky man’). On the day of the Hadaka Matsuri, he runs the course on the grounds of the shrine completely naked, even shaven of all body hair, and is chased by the loinclothed participants. They desperately try to touch him. If they luckily do so, it is believed evil spirits will be banished from them and they will be brought good fortune.
The Shin Otoko lucky man can be hardly seen among the crowds of loinclothed men. He struggles his way back to the shrine as he is touched by hundreds of festival participants. When he finally makes it back to the shrine building, he carries in with him all the sins and bad luck that others have transferred to him. He then makes his final prayers at the shrine before being symbolically driven out of town, taking all the bad luck bestowed upon him as he goes.
The festival takes place annually on the 13th day of January in the lunar calendar, so while the date changes each year, it always falls in February or early March. See Aichi Tourism’s website below for further details.
From Nagoya Station, take the Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line. Alight at Konomiya Station and walk 3 minutes from the north exit.
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