Warabi Hadaka Matsuri - a Massive Muddy Naked Men Festival in Chiba
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto
Obisha is very old custom in rural area of Chiba, Saitama, and Ibaraki around Tone-river, which is held in new-year period. Details of the obisha differs in every colony. Generally, it is composed of the ritual predicting harvest and dinner party. Residents of the colony are divided into small groups and “Touya” group arranges obisha by turns every year. The most popular ritual is to let off arrows at a target.
In Moro Shrine in Miwa, this obisha is held on the 2nd Sunday of January. 2 big mochi are used in place of arrow and target. At first, 8 sho (1800ml) of sake, 8 sho of rice cake, 8 kinds of cooked vegetables, and big mochi of 3 sho and 5 sho are provided to the symbol of shrine. It is said that 8 digits is affiliated with mythology of the enshrined “Oomononushinomikoto”, however, details are unknown.
And ceremony of turning “Touya” to next group is done. They enjoy this ceremony with sake and dried squid.
And climax reaches. Glass windows are taken off and Naked young guys enter the shrine and smaller 3 mas mochi is thrown among them. It’s training time. Guys scramble for the mochi aggressively.
After training, larger 5 mochi is thrown.
They lift it and scramble to tear off and strike to the pillar.
Men struggle with each other moving inside and outside of shrine until it is split. During the struggle, guys are shouting and sweating. Many people visit to enjoy this exciting battle.
At last, the chief priest forecasts the harvest by investing how the rice cake is split. Of course, the conclusion is good harvest every year! After the end of ritual, gallery is treated with red and white mochi and oranges to share pleasure.
This ceremony is designated as an intangible cultural treasure by Nagareyama city. Some authorities, for for example the mayor, are invited.
Recentry, obisha custom is becoming a mere shell, however, this ritual is succeeded by a historical society.
Address: Miwanoyama 5-619, Nagareyama city, Chiba pref.
This city is comparatively small, located in the north-west area in Chiba pref, neighboring Saitama. Three railways run through this city so it is very convenient to commute to big city. Now there are wide residential areas in this city, however, it has been developed for a long time by water transportation thanks to Tone conduit and Edo-river, so you can visit many historical spots. In addition, there is large forest in the central part of this city, called Ootaka-no-mori, where goshawks live, so beautiful nature is conserved in Nagareyama.
Nagareyama is known as the place where routing shinsengumi had been stationed. Shinsengumi was a shogunate police and military force that acted in the last Edo period. Their unfortunate fate and miserable story is very famous and sympathized by many people. The cantonment of Isami Kondou, chief of shinsengumi, is preserved.
Detail: Nagareyama 2-10, Nagareyama city, Chiba pref.
Access: a few minuites on foot from Nagareyama station, Nagareyama line.
Contact information: 04-7150-6085
Mirin is major local product of Nagareyama city. Mirin is a kind of sweet rice wine which is used for cooking. It is said that mirin is oriented to Nagareyama as well as soy sauce in Noda. Many local products are available in Antenna shop Nagareyama-Furusato kan.
Edogawadai-Higashi 2-17, Nagareyama city, Chiba pref
Access: a few minutes on foot from Edogawadai station, Tobu Noda line.
Contact information: 04-7151-0450
Tone conduit waterside-park
Tone conduit was designed and conducted by Mulder, a Dutch civil engineer. The length is 8.5 km. Small streams and hill-bottoms are seen here and there. Rare plants and wild birds are alive. The water-side is decorated by beautiful flowers like corridor every season. Especially you can enjoy big cherry blossoms lit up in spring night, and colorful cluster amaryllis in autumn.
Address; Higashi-Fukai 368, Nagareyama city, Chiba pref.
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Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
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