As hard as we tried we couldn`t find us a naked man.
This last Saturday a group of us found our way to Hofu for the Naked Man Festival that is held there every year at the Hofu Tenmangu. The festival was held all day long, but the main event was closer to 6:00 pm. The main group of us had arrived around 2:00pm, a little early for the day, but we still got to see activities and eat festival food.
This festival is known for being a “man’s” festival, hence the name, but a few woman could be seen chanting among the groups of men. The men donned all-white outfits but as the day crept on the outfits slowly became littered with ume flower blossom imprints.
Since our little group arrived rather early for the event, we watched younger aged groups carry offerings up to the temple where they would be blessed and left at the temple. Later in the day, around 4:00 pm, groups of children changed to groups consisting of slightly (some really gone) drunk men who would end up running up the temple steps with their offerings.
But as mentioned before, the main event started at 6:00 pm. This is when the main mikoshi that had been presented to receive offerings would be carried out from the temple and paraded around town in a traditionally styled procession.
The most important mikoshi would be last to leave the temple. It would be dragged down the steps of the temple and onto an old-style black wooden cart. The men who had brought offerings and helped out through the day would then pull the cart through town following the procession of smaller mikoshi, temple staff, and the large groups of men. It is said if you touch this one you will be given luck for the rest of the year. The event itself is rather dangerous, especially since the majority of men involved have been drinking the day away, but even more so with the hefty weight of the final mikoshi.
The whole thing sounds like a college frat party doesn’t it? Well, a few punches had been thrown while getting the thing down the steps, so I guess we could say it was one.
While watching and waiting, our little gaggle of friends started to get rained on by the heavens. We had prepared for chilly weather, but none of us had packed an umbrella. Still, we toughed it out until the bitter end. All of us ended the night cold and wet, but proud to have been able to partake in an event like this, full of festivities that only can be found in Japan.
In the end the closest guy to being “naked” was a guy in shorts and the check wrap. Though I will say we did see some really nice eye candy throughout the day, so I guess that events it out.