Millennium-Old Traditional ‘Naked Festival’ to Be Held for Last Time Next February at Iwate Pref. Temple

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Men dressed only in loincloths fight to get a Somin sack on Feb. 1, 2020, at Kokuseki Temple in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture.

A festival with a millennium of history in Iwate Prefecture will come to an end next February due to a shortage of people and the aging of those involved, the temple holding the festival announced Tuesday.

Kokuseki Temple in Oshu, Iwate, will hold its last Sominsai traditional festival, the history of which dates to more than 1,000 years ago, on Feb. 17.

In the festival, men dressed only in loincloths battle for a sack to pray for a bountiful harvest and to ward off illness. Due to the coronavirus, only a goma prayer was held last year and the year before. This year, the festival was held on a reduced scale.