The purpose of the festival is to bring good luck to the participants. The men, wearing only a loincloth and socks, compete with each other to gain hold of several wooden sticks. To make this even more interesting, the men purify themselves in icy cold water.
The festival is held every year on the third Saturday in February at the Kannon-in Temple in Okayama. This year it is on February 18.
From Okayama station, take the JR Ako Line to Saidaiji station. It takes about 20 minutes and costs 240 yen one-way. From the Saidaiji station, it takes 10 minutes to walk to the temple.
Date: February 18, 2017
Schedule of Events:
- 3:20 pm – Elementary school boys compete
- 5:40 pm – Dance performances
- 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm – Taiko drumming performances
- 7:00-7:30 pm – Fireworks
- 8:00-10:00 pm – Men gather at the temple
- 10:00 pm – The lights go out and the competition begins!
Website: Okayama Chamber of Commerce (In English)
Transportation: Train to Saidaiji station – about 20 minutes/240 yen