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Men in Thongs

Posted by Heliocentrism on December 23, 2010

November 21, 2010

All Pictures

Happy Naked Men

Half Naked Men in the Cold

In Bungo Takada each year there is a “Naked Man” festival to celebrate the harvest. A bunch of men put on mawashi type thongs, get all liquored up, and splash around in the cold river that passes through town. It’s all part of the tradition to show thankfulness for the harvest.

This will do nothing to warm the men up, but they can at least look at it.

First some very prominent figures in town lit a huge torch that is standing in the river by way of bow and arrow. These people were not chosen for their archery skills, so it took a while before the torch was set ablaze.

The harder you drum, the warmer you can be.

But there were many taiko drummers performing to keep the crowd entertained in the mean time. In fact the drummers kicked off the whole ceremony and ended it too. Once the torch was lit the men in thongs entered the water carrying a shrine.

Mind over matter

The men walked around in the river for about half an hour. They yelled, clapped, and sang. Then they tried to stand on the shrine’s front steps to give a cheer and get the other men worked up into a chant. But because of the slipperiness of the shrine and the large quantity of alcohol consumed by the men, they ended up just falling into the water.

They all seemed quite happy.

All Pictures



How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.







  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Bungo Taketa

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°33’26.1″N 131°26’40.5″E

by car from Oita City –

  • Take route 10 towards the airport.
  • Somewhere after Beppu the 10 heads west. Stay on it until it meets route 213.
  • Take 213 heading north.
  • Turn right on road #23 (There is a Lawson on the left at this turn).
  • You will pass a hospital, but do not go passed the post office.
  • Turn left at the stop light before the post office.
  • Go about 2 blocks. You will see a parking lot with lots of tour buses and car.
  • You can park here for free.


City of Commerce Tourism Division Tourism Section

Bungotakada 御玉 Bungotakada City
Oita Prefecture 〒 879-0692 114


  • 0978-22-3100 (ext 333)(Japanese only)



  • The Showa town stuff is a bit lame.
  • The bus tour is free, but you have to make reservations.
  • This town has a “naked man” festival in the fall.
    • Naked Man Festival Info – Link
    • Wakamiya Hachiman Naked Festival phone – 0978-22-3311
  • This town has many festivals where men get semi naked and jump in the river.


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