On January 15, 2012, Shinzan shrine naked pilgrimage festival （新山神社裸まいり : shinzan jinja hadaka mairi ） was held in Yurihonjo city （由利本荘市）of Akita prefecture（秋田県）, Northern Honshu, Japan.
Shinzan ya yukino sando rasha noboru
climb the snowy approach –
Shinzan shrine Hidenori
Manisha Kundu-Nagata says in her blog Life with hubby as follows.
The Hadaka Mairi (pilgrimage) Matsuri is a winter festival where naked men brave the cold and snow and proceed to a rather distant Shinzan shrine. The naked men carry offerings to the shrine by walking through the snow. There are different opinions and sayings regarding the origin of the Hadaka Mairi Matsuri. One of the stories is that shugensha monks protected the Shinzan shrine by walking naked as a form of ascetic training and practice. Shugendo is an ancient Japanese religion in which enlightenment or oneness with god is obtained through the study of the relationship between man and nature. It is centered on an ascetic, mountain-dwelling lifestyle and incorporates teachings from koshinto, buddhism, and other eastern philosophies including folk animism. Monks following shugendo religion are known as shugensha. The monks prayed for the toughness of body, the safety of homes, the happiness of the families, and bumper crops in the fields. Every year the monks went to the shrine to display in front of the god the results of their training, practice, and the growth of their mind and body.
You will get familiar with the festival through the following blog.
Lastly, let me post haiku and photos by Corinne Kinvig, Sabrina Ketcherside, and Charlotte Regnier, who studied about haiku and learned to write haiku at the class by Alexander Dolin, PhD, Professor of Japanese Literature and Civilization Studies at Akita International University（国際教養大学）.
Corinne Kinvig contributed the works of haiku and photos to us in November, 2011.
Sabrina Ketcherside also contributed the works of haiku to us in November, 2011.
Charlotte Regnier also contributed the works of haiku to us in November, 2011.
The next posting ‘For New Year 2012 (5)’ appears on February 4.
― Hidenori Hiruta