Naked Festival set for full revival after four years

OKAYAMA, Nov 22 (News On Japan) - In the crowded halls of the Nishi-Achiyama Kannon-in Temple in Okayama City, men, completely devoid of clothing, press tightly against each other. This is the famous "Naked Festival."

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival's main event, the "Battle for the Sacred Stick," was suspended. However, in February 2024, after a four-year hiatus, the festival is set to return to its traditional format.

In 2023, the event saw a quiet end without the usual scramble, as the sacred stick was simply dropped onto a cloth below where men waited, avoiding any conflict.

Traditionally, the man who successfully catches the sacred stick is deemed the "Lucky Man." This usually results in a fierce tussle among the participants, a struggle that shows no signs of abating, often spilling out of the temple.

The 2024 revival of the battle for the sacred stick might serve as an outlet for four years of pent-up frustration.

To prevent accidents, the organizers plan to enforce stricter alcohol checks and adjust the timing for entering the temple grounds, aiming to shorten the duration of the scramble.

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