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Have you ever heard about a “Hadaka Matsuri” or naked festival? Ohara Hadaka Matsuri is one of them. This is a type of Japanese festivals. So, the participants wear a minimum amount of clothing. Usually, just a Japanese loincloth (Fundoshi), sometimes with a short Happi coat, and rarely completely naked. Naked festivals take place in a lot of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter.
The most famous naked festival is the Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri that takes place at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama prefecture where the festival originated. Every year, over 9,000 men participate in this festival hoping to gain good luck for the entire year. So, if you have an opportunity, don’t miss it and visit the festival.
In this article, I would like to introduce you to the Hadaka Matsuri held in Ohara, Isumi city, Chiba prefecture. Isumi city is located in the eastern part of Boso peninsula and is a prosperous fishing city so far. Thus, it’s a great place to try fresh seafood products including local special dishes.
This festival originates in the Edo period and is famous for being the most courageous and dynamic in the Kanto Area. The highlight of this festival is the performance called “Shiofumi” (汐ふみ), which is held at 14:30 on September 23, 2018.
18 groups of village people gather at Ohara beach and pray for bumper crops and abundant catch. Then, after their prays, “Shiofumi” performance usually starts. Village men wrapped in white cotton cloths called “Sarashi” on their bellies start running vigorously towards the beach. Besides, people carry 18 Mikoshi (portable shrines) the beach as well. Above all, the scene when the villagers struggle with one another roughly carrying a Mikoshi looks very brave and heroic.
After people and portable shrines reach the Ohara center mall, they keep on parading towards the final venue – Ohara elementary school while singing traditional songs. At the school, the farewell ceremony performance, which is another highlight, takes place. People carrying Mikoshi energetically run and rush around the school playground competing with other portable shrines. So, It looks like the portable shrines are unwilling to separate from each other. As a result, people who are watching the festival must feel passion and gentleness for portable shrines’ carriers from a small seaside town. Besides, a lot of their fans visit the festival every year.
The waters around the city is a fishing ground where the cold stream called Oyashio and the warm stream called Kuroshio mix with each other. So, Isumi city turned out to become a center of lobster production of Chiba prefecture. Lobsters caught in this offing grow up in raging waves, so they taste exceptionally good. At all the points such as color, size, and gloss, Lobsters from Isumi are ones of the best. Its’ rich taste is highly valued on the market.
Octopuses from Isumi are said to be one of the two best Japanese octopuses along with those caught in Akashi in Hyogo prefecture. Thus, this product is not easy to find in many places except local upmarkets or high-grade restaurants. These octopuses are called “Taito・Ohara san Madako”. Especially, those caught in December and January taste soft, sweet, and al-dente, and are appraised to be exquisite by professionals.
In Isumi there are 15 authorized restaurants called “Ihachi Meshi”. At those restaurants, you’d rather try dishes with local rice from Isumi and fresh vegetables and fish from the waters of the town. They use more than 8 ingredients in one dish, so don’t miss an opportunity to try it.
Dates: September 23rd & 24th every year
Shiofumi performance: Ohara Kaisuiyoku-jyo, beach
Address: Nitta wakayama fukahori aichi, Isumi-shi, Chiba Prefecture
Farewell ceremony performance: Ohara elementary school
Address: 8530-3, Ohara, Isumi-shi , Chiba Prefecture
20 minutes on foot to Ohara Kaisuiyoku-jyo, beach from JR Ohara station
10 minutes on foot to Ohara elementary school from JR Ohara station
There are a lot of places which hold Hadaka Matsuri in Japan. However, this festival provides you with unique opportunity to enjoy watching half-naked Japanese men running at the beach and carrying a Mikoshi. Please visit Isumi city during the festival, join the celebration and enjoy local seafood!
If you would like to discover this amazing festival and Chiba prefecture with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!
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