Furukawa Naked Man Festival

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Japan is known for it’s crazy festivals and Furukawa may just have the craziest of all.  The Furukawa Matsuri (festival) is also known as the naked man festival.  During the day, different neighborhoods around the town all prepare their beautiful wooden floats and decorate them with lanterns.  Children climb up inside onto the roof and play flutes while the men tow the floats around town.  Then when the sun goes down, things get crazy.  The young men of each district get dressed in loin clothes and carry a small drum on a post around town drinking sake.  Then the will all gather around the post, start chanting, and one person will climb up on top of the others beat the drum and then balance their stomach on the top of the post.  This continues until a few people are selected to climb on top of one massive drum which is then towed around the city.  The entire town follows the massive drum while the men from each neighborhood with the small drums try to attack the big one when it passes through their neighborhood.  Some people get hurt.   Sake is everywhere, since conveniently they also brew a ton of sake around the town.  Everyone is cheering.  Locals climb out of their windows and on the roof to yell support (and drink sake).  It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen and so much fun.

The festival food here was one of the best parts- candy covered grapes, a crepe with cabbage and meat topped with egg and brown sauce, banana dipped in chocolate and our favorite – two fried noodle circles stuffed with chasu (pork).  Amanda was amazed that when the festival was over, there wasn’t a single piece of trash on the ground.

Note:  The above interpretation of the festival is most likely completely wrong.  I feel like I will never truly understand it.  I hope the pictures in the gallery can convey a bit of the craziness though.

  • Ryokan room
  • Parade Participant
  • Furukawa-3
  • Furukawa-4
  • Furukawa-5
  • Furukawa-6
  • Carrying the drum
  • Furukawa-8
  • Furukawa-9
  • Children climbing inside the float
  • Furukawa-11
  • Furukawa-12
  • Lion dancers
  • Furukawa-14
  • Furukawa-15
  • Furukawa-16
  • Furukawa-17
  • Furukawa-18
  • Furukawa-19
  • Furukawa-20
  • Furukawa-21
  • Furukawa-22
  • Furukawa-23
  • Furukawa-24
  • Furukawa-25
  • Furukawa-26
  • Furukawa-27
  • Furukawa-28
  • Furukawa-29
  • Furukawa-30
  • Furukawa-31
  • Furukawa-32
  • Furukawa-33
  • Onlookers from the roof
  • Furukawa-35
  • Furukawa-36
  • Tonbury
  • So much Sake
  • Locals watching from the rooftop
  • Victory!
  • And not a scrap of trash afterward

Posted: May 9, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Asia, Blog, Continents, Japan


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