Our site uses cookies and other technologies to give you the best possible experience. By using this site you are consenting to their use and accept our policies. Learn more...

Explore Japan

The Somin Naked Festival

Aired: March 9, 2017


Information

The Somin Naked Festival has been passed down for more than one thousand years at a mountain temple, deep in snowy Northern Japan.
This physically demanding, purification rite is held annually in the coldest month of the year—February. Hundreds of men gather at the rustic Kokuseki-ji temple on New Year’s Eve according to the lunar calendar.

Wearing only fundoshi loincloths, they embark on a nightlong test of endurance in a bid to ward off evil and invite in fortune. The climax comes at dawn when there is a frenzied struggle to claim a sacred bag called the somin-bukuro, which brings good luck.

On this program, Canadian TV personality Kyle Card makes his way to Oshu, in southern Iwate, to join in this enigmatic festival. First, he must purify himself in advance of the ritual. He adheres to a strict Zen shojin diet. Later, he sits Zazen at a training temple to practice asceticism and focus his mind for the harsh festival.

Kyle experiences the pain, the thrill, and the glory. He gains firsthand insights into the significance of the Naked Festival—an experience beyond his wildest dreams.

Gallery

More Videos To Explore

Our Series

At One with Nature – National Parks of Japan In this series, we’ll visit national parks in Japan to meet the people that call them home, enjoy seasonal views that have inspired artists and writers for centuries, and explore their landmarks.
ASEAN Now and the Future II – Discover New Buena Vista This series involved a new set of partners. It was produced by TV broadcasters in Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, with advice from visiting program production experts from NHK International in Japan.
Catch Japan Explore a colorful variety of modern Japan’s most popular topics, including food, technology, ecology and regional promotions, with a focus on the innovative ideas and passionate effort from the people behind it all.
Washoku World Challenge The series will follow the regional qualifying tournaments and the final tournament of the sixth “Washoku World Challenge,” a cooking contest in which non-Japanese Washoku chefs from throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Japan will pit their skills against one another, as they strive in earnest to inherit, pass on and cultivate their Washoku cooking skills.
SPIRIT OF JAPAN A documentary series that features remarkable industries in Japan. The program introduces the history and wisdom behind Japan’s technological strength and specialties, which are helping to revitalize regional areas of the country.
The Next 100 Years Iconic Japanese company Panasonic is celebrating 100 years in business.What is this leading Japanese enterprise doing to ensure the company thrives for the next 100 years? One key strategy is to take a fresh look at the potential of the people who form the backbone of the company and another key challenge is to create new value.
Future Highway Express As globalization rapidly accelerates, truck logistics routes that connect various countries are playing a key role in supporting each national economy. These are the Future Highways that are creating the path into the future. Seen through the eyes of the truck drivers, this two-part series program depicts the landscapes and places of interest in each region.
Check Other Series