Every year on the 7th of January, in the small village of Yanaizu in central Fukushima, you can enjoy a fantastic and unique festival, the Nanokado Hadaka Mairi, or in English the Yanaizu Naked Man Festival. The roots of this festival come from an ancient story where the village of Yanaizu was plagued with diseases and misfortune. One day, when a princess was praying at the Enzoji temple (the main temple of Yanaizu) she was instructed during a vision to borrow a unique and powerful gem capable of fulfilling any wish from the Dragon God living at the bottom of the nearby Tadami River. Once in the possession of the gem, the princess succeeds to bring back good health and prosperity to Yanaizu. However, many years later on the night of January 7th, the Dragon God came back to Yanaizu in search of his gem. He was successfully scared off by the locals of Yanaizu who were disguised by wearing only loincloths. This taught future generations the power of unity and working together against adversity. Since then, every year on the evening of January 7th, the male villagers of Yanaizu dressed in loincloths participate in the “Nanokado Hadaka Mairi” where they dash up the steps leading to the rocky crags to the Enzoji main temple building. They scramble to be the first person to climb the huge hemp ropes used to ring the temple bell in order to commemorate what their ancestors did to save Yanaizu’s good fortune!