Breaking Barriers: Women Join Japan’s Historic Nude Festival


The Hadaka Matsuri, or Naked Festival, held at the Konomiya Shrine in central Japan, has been a tradition for an astounding 1,250 years. However, this year marked a significant shift as for the first time ever, women participated in this historic event alongside the men. This change in tradition was met with a mix of excitement, skepticism, and resistance from the community.

Japan, a country that ranked 125 out of 146 in the World Economic Forum’s gender gap report, has long been dominated by male-centric spaces. However, the women who participated in the Hadaka Matsuri saw this as an opportunity to break barriers and make history. Atsuko Tamakoshi, a member of a family who has been involved with the festival for generations, emphasized the contributions women have made to support the men in the background.

The decision to include women in the festival was not an easy one. While some community members were supportive, others expressed concerns and skepticism about breaking tradition. Nevertheless, the women who participated in the festival took the opportunity to show their dedication and respect for the tradition.

On the day of the festival, the women, clad in happi coats and white shorts, made their way to the shrine with bamboo offerings. They did not participate in the rush to the shrine or the rituals involving the shrine’s male god, but they made their presence felt in a meaningful way. The women’s participation in the event was a mix of nerves, excitement, and determination as they followed the rituals and chants alongside the men.

As the women made their way through the festival, they were met with cheers and encouragement from the audience. Despite the cold water dousing and physical challenges, the women pressed on with determination. When their contributions were acknowledged and accepted, the women expressed their gratitude and emotions with tears and hugs, feeling a sense of achievement and pride in breaking gender barriers.

The significance of the women’s participation in the Hadaka Matsuri was not lost on the participants. They recognized the importance of this moment in history and the impact it would have on future generations. The women who took part in the festival were proud to be a part of something so groundbreaking and to have the opportunity to showcase their dedication and respect for tradition.

As the festival came to a close, the women were surrounded by tourists and media outlets eager to capture this historic moment. They gladly posed for photos and shared their thoughts and emotions about the experience. Participants expressed their pride and gratitude for being a part of history and breaking gender barriers in a traditional event that has stood the test of time.

As the women reflected on their participation in the festival, they expressed a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of something so significant. Atsuko Tamakoshi, who played a pivotal role in the women’s participation, felt a sense of joy and fulfillment in being able to share in this ancient tradition with her husband and the community.

The inclusion of women in the Hadaka Matsuri marked a turning point in the festival’s long history, breaking gender barriers and paving the way for future generations of women to participate in this historic event. The women who took part in the festival showcased their dedication, respect, and determination to be a part of something so special and to make history in their own unique way.