March 3rd each year sees the Naked Man Festival take place at Urasa's Bishamondo. It is known as one of the top three bizarre festivals in Japan and dates back hundreds of year. Semi-naked man parade through the streets to the temple accompanied by people carrying giant candles. Once they arrive, they jump into an icy pool of spring water. From there they dash into the main hall of the temple where there is a steaming mob of other men all pushing and shoving to try to squeeze through a small gap into the inner area.
It is a writhing mass of men, all chanting in unison, and lit by candles in an all-wooden building on a winter night – an impressive sight. The streets outside the temple are lined with stalls serving food and drinks, with barbecued fish in warm sake being a local favorite.
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