Oita: Contestants Shiver and Shake in Cold-Endurance Event on Mountain

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A competition participant dressed as a monkey clings to an icicle in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, on Jan. 22.

BEPPU, Oita — Over 40 men and women braved the elements to take part in a cold-endurance contest in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, on Jan 22.

The 41 shivering participants from Oita and other prefectures took part in four different events, including wolfing down shaved ice and clinging to 2-meter-high ice pillars to avoid falling.

Beppu Ropeway Co., holds the annual event near the summit of the 1,375-meter-high Mt. Tsurumi in the city, where the company operates the ropeway, to encourage more people to visit the mountain even during the coldest season.

It was held for the first time in three years due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, attracting about 500 spectators.

When the contest began at 10 a.m., the temperature was a chilly 1 C and patches of snow could be seen here and there.

Participants competed to see who could eat cold somen noodles the fastest, eat shaved ice while sitting on an ice chair, and thread needles after their hands were dipped in cold water.

During the ice-clinging game, laughter was heard as people fell from the ice pillars immediately after starting their challenge. One contestant even wore a monkey costume in a nod to the monkeys that live in groups on nearby Mt. Takasaki.