Top 10 Most Unique Festival in Japan

japan weirdest events

Japan always make us surprised with their culture. Their creativity have no limits! In Japan, they have unusual events that celebrated every year. Here are the most weirdest.


1. Naki Sumo Baby Crying Contest
japan weirdest festival

Takes place at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo in April 30th every year, pairing up tiny little babies with a sumo wrestler who will then try to get the little guy to cry. The origins of the bizarre back hundreds years to a simple proverb that states, "Naku ko wa sodatsu", which means Crying babies grow fat.

The other reason, is the belief that somehow the piercing wails work to drive off nearby demons that would otherwise bring you to harm. While neither of these claims are proven to work, that hasn't stopped people from making their children cry in public.

2. Kasedori Festival
japan strange events

Origins in the 1600s, the festival gets its name from straw coats worn by the participants. They are supposed to be birds. While dancing, they cry out "kaah, kaah" - because they are birds of course.

The festival takes place in Yamagata Prefecture city of Kaminoyama and celebrated around February 11th every year. It's believed that the festival brings prosperity. The night tome celebrations supposedly have some connection to the mizushobai, the adult entertainment business, althought this connection may be more historical than current.

3. Heto Mato (Fisherman Festival)
japan strange festival

Heto Mato Festival is celebrated to pray for a good spring harvest and fishing season. It's held in Goto Town on Goto Island, Nagasaki Prefecture.

The festival opening with sumo-wrestling at Shirahama Shrine followed by hanetsuki (a traditional game played at New Year), kemari (a footballlike game played in ceremonial dress), a tug of war with their bodies painted entirely black and giant straw sandal being paraded around town.

4. Onda Matsuri
japan weird events

Onda Matsuri held around February 3rd at Asuka Niimasu Jinja shrine in Nara. The festival is also called as "Sexy Rice Planting Festival". On this day, people worship their gods in order that they might be blessed with a good rice harvest.

The ceremony begin with an offering of prayers for rice planting followed by an enactment of a "marriage play" between a goblin and a human woman. Two people, one dressed up as a goblin "tengu" and the other as a human woman (both played by two male actors in masks) perform a play pretending to be a married couple having sex.

5. Kanamura Matsuri
japan weird festival

Kanamara Matsuri or Festival of the Steel Phallus is held each spring (early April) at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. The phallus, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations and mikoshi parade. The festival started in 1969, today, the festival has become something of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research.

6. Honen Matsuri
japan unique events

Honen Matsuri or Harvest Festival is a fertility festival celebrated every year on March 15 in Japan. Honen means prosperous year in Japanese, implying a rich harvest, while a matsuri is a festival. The Honen festival celebrate the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manner of prosperity and fertility.

The best known of these festivals takes place in the town of Komaki, just north of Nagoya City. The festival's main features are Shinto priests playing musical instruments, a parade of ceremonially garbed participants, all-you-can-drink sake, and a 280 kg (620 pound), 2.5 meter (96 inch)-long wooden phallus. The wooden phallus is carried from a shrine called Shinmei Sha (in even-numbered years) on a large hill or from Kumano-sha Shrine (in odd-numbered years), to a shrine called Tagata Jinja.

7. Hadaka Matsuri
japan unique festival

A Hadaka Matsuri is a Japanese festival, in which participants wear a minimum amount of clothing; usually just a Japanese loincloth (called fundoshi), sometimes with a short happi coat, and rarely completely naked.

The festival held in dozens of places throughout Japan every year, usually in the summer or winter. The most famous festival is the Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri held at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama, where the festival originated. Every year, over 9,000 men participate in this festival in hopes of gaining luck for the entire year. Saidai-ji Matsuri usually takes place on the third Saturday in February.

8. Tounin Gyouji
japan festival


Yamata no Orochi, it's a story in which Susanoo, the god of storms, killed an eight-headed eight-tailed serpent in order to save a damsel in distress from being eaten. It's a very cool story, and this festival is held every year in honor of it.

The reason this festival is called weird is because of the event in the photo, the "ushinori gyouji," or "the cow ride." A single man rides upon the back of the cow. That man is Susanoo. Unlike in the story, the festival has him mostly unconscious, a far cry from the cool image he has in the story. Why he's unconscious is a mystery.

9. Paantu Punaha
japanese festival

When you were a child, did your parents ever say "the monsters will get you" if you ever did anything bad? In Okinawa's Miyakojima, those children are told "the paanto will get you." This festival is one meant to banish bad luck, and during it people dress up as paanto and cover themselves and everything else in mud. It doesn't matter if you're from the town, a tourist, if the house is brand new or if you just washed your car - it will get covered in mud.

10. Kokusekiji Sominsai
japanese events

This strange image of a bunch of half-naked men is actually the Kokusekiji Sominsai, a festival with a history of more than 1000 years in which the men are struggling to get a bag that has "sominsai" printed on it. The man who has it in the end is said to be blessed. All these men fighting with all their hearts in the bitter cold to become blessed makes it closer to a sport than a festival.

Actually, this festival is open to anyone who applies, but there are rules like you can't eat meat, fish, eggs, or garlic for a week before the festival, so it's actually pretty difficult...

BONUS...

japan events

November 8th known as Nice Boobs Day in Japan, though it's just unofficial holiday. It celebrated in social media as it presents an opportunity for models, cosplayers and even idols to dress up and post pictures for celebreate the day.