Nanokado Hadakamairi

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Nanokado Hadakamairi, Enzoji Temple, Yanaizu

When the temple bell is tolling young men clad only in loin-cloth rush up 113 snowy steps to the Nanokado hall of Enzoji temple. Before climbing up a thick rope to the ceiling of the main sanctuary the youngsters sprinkle ice cold water on their naked bodies. Then they scramble to get to a ceremonial bell (wani-guchi) hung from the ceiling. Finally the participants find themselves on the rafters herded together so tightly that it's hard to tell one's own limbs and flesh from one's neighbours. The crush, exhaustion and rice wine (sake) give the young men a tremendous excitement.

The origin of the event is said to be a legend about the villagers of Yanaizu who received a revelation from Kokuzo Bosatsu. To fight an epidemic they took a holy crystal ball from a dragon living in the River Tadami. Furiously the dragon attacked Yanaizu to take back the gem, but the villagers battled bravely and repelled the dragon.


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