If you happen to be at Isumi in Chiba Prefecture on Saturday Sept 23 and Sunday Sept 24, you’re going to see a very exciting festival — and lots of semi-naked men! Don’t worry. It’s all good fun. Despite the festival’s name, the men aren’t really naked. They wear longjohns or momohiki.
Welcome to the Ohara Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Men’s Festival), which has a history of more than 300 years. The festival is held every year on the same holiday weekend in September to pray for a bumper crop harvest and good fishing catch.
The highlight of the event is when local residents carry mikoshi (portable shrines) and wade into the sea in an energetic frenzy. This is called shiofumi in Japanese. It will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sept 23 at Ohara Beach. This is followed by the Owakareshiki (farewell to the gods event) when the participants carry the mikoshi through the streets and run in a circle at 5:30 p.m. in the grounds of Ohara Elementary School, cheering in a loud voice. On Sept 24, the Owakareshiki is held again at 5:30 p.m. at the same school with a final farewell to the gods until next year.
The festival concludes with the mikoshi being lit up for the evening, singing and a fireworks display. There are also plenty of food stalls and vendors along the streets.
If you want to get a good view of the festival, go to Ohara port at around 1 p.m. on Sept 23. Then you will in a good position to see all the fun close up. You can also feel the energy as everyone gathers in the build-up to the festival.
An added attraction is the Ise-Ebi (lobster) Festival which will be taking place for the second time this year at Ohara port in Isumi on Aug 27, Sept 3, 10, 16, 17 and Oct 1 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. You will be able to catch lobsters and BBQ them on the grill. There will also be hula dancers to entertain visitors on Aug 27 and Sept 17.
- Venue: Ohara Beach and Ohara Elementary School, Isumi, Chiba Prefecture
- Date: September 23, 2017 - September 24, 2017
- Time: 09:00 am JST - 05:30 pm JST