Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival), Konomiya, near Nagoya 裸祭り
Konomiya Shrine's Hadaka Matsuri or Naked Festival in Konomiya near Nagoya in central Japan first took place in 767 in an attempt to ward off a plague epidemic. A shin-otoko ("god-man") is first chosen from a group of applicants and prepares himself for 3 days kept in a small hall at the shrine. On the 13th day of the first month of the lunar calendar a large group of men dressed only in loincloths gather to touch the shin-otoko, who was traditionally naked, to pass off evil and bad-luck on to the shin-otoko. The festival begins in mid-afternoon on the 13th day of the lunar new year when thousands of men dressed only in loincloths carry a bamboo pole covered with pieces of paper carrying the excuses of people who couldn't make it to the festival that year.