The Kazusa Junisha Matsuri is said to have over 1,200 years of tradition, starting in the year 807. Known also as a "naked festival" (because the people who carry the mikoshi, or portable shrine, are nearly naked), it is also a trademark "sea festival" of the Boso Peninsula as well as a Chiba Prefectural important intangible folk cultural assets.
This festival has been handed down through the generations as a local ritual that annually reenacts a myth on the coast of Tsurigasaki—where they say the goddess Tamayori-hime no Mikoto (the deity of the Tamasaki Shrine) and her crew first set foot on the Boso Peninsula—and celebrates the reunion of the gods.
On the day of the Festival, five communities surrounding the town of Ichinomiya send mikoshi and roughly 1,000 youths to carry it along the parade route. The highlight is when they head for the festival ritual grounds on the coastline of Tsurigasaki where the youths run as fast as they can carrying the mikoshi through the shallow waters of beach Kujukuri-hama, half naked. Locals and visitors, boys and girls of all ages, everyone comes together as one, for an exciting festive time.
Kazusa Junisha Matsuri is referred to as the "sea festival" because of its highlight, the running of the mikoshi across the beach to the ritual grounds on the Tsurigasaki coast. Led by a horse, hundreds upon hundreds of half naked locals carry the mikoshi and dash along the 8km long Kujukuri-hama Beach. It's a truly amazing sight to see them change positions holding the few hundred kilogram mikoshi as they run, cooperating at top speed.
A total of nine mikoshi gather from all over town to run to the stage where the gods in the myth first set foot on land. Upon arrival, the mikoshi are raised and thrusted towards the sky in unison along with the powerful cries of the people to celebrate the one day out of the year that the gods reunite. Witness the spirit of the Japanese people who have stayed true to the tradition of realizing the existence of god in nature and coexisting with it.
If you wish to participate in carrying the mikoshi, you must cover any tattoos you might have.
There are no particular rules for viewing but common respect and good behavior is appreciated. Also, please pay careful attention when carrying the mikoshi not to lose your footing. Injuries can happen.
Access to Ichinomiya, Chiba
Kazusa-Ichinomiya Station on the JR Sotobo Line
Address: 3048 Ichinomiya, Ichinomiya machi, Chosei gun, Chiba Prefecture
*Approx. 5 minutes from the taxi stop by the station
Tsurigasaki Coast, Festival Ritual Grounds
Address: Torami, Ichinomiya machi, Chosei gun, Chiba Prefecture
*There is a free shuttle leaving the Tamasaki Shrine at fixed intervals