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03:55

Hundreds flock to mysterious festival in Goto Islands for good fortune

Japan, Shimosakiyamacho village, Fukue Island, Nagasaki Prefecture
January 20, 2020 at 07:46 GMT +00:00 · Published

Hundreds of people flocked to the Shirahama shrine in the Japanese village of Shimosakiyamacho on Fukue Island, part of the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, on Sunday, for the annual Heto Mato (Fisherman) Festival, wishing for a good fishing and harvest year.

One of the rituals performed during the festival is when single women are tossed onto a large Zori (straw sandal) by groups of men wearing Fundoshi (loincloths), to help them find a partner in the near future.

"I've heard that you can get married if you ride on this Zori (large straw sandal). After the first time I came here to ride with my friends, one of them really had a boyfriend and then the other got married," said nurse Aki Hiramatsu.

Apart from tossing single women on the Zori (large straw sandal), festival participants also engage in a series of games and sumo as well as painting festival goers' faces with charcoal to bring good fortune.

The festival is held during the third week of January on the Nagasaki prefecture island and its origins, as well as the root of its name, are surrounded by mystery.

03:55
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Description

Hundreds of people flocked to the Shirahama shrine in the Japanese village of Shimosakiyamacho on Fukue Island, part of the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, on Sunday, for the annual Heto Mato (Fisherman) Festival, wishing for a good fishing and harvest year.

One of the rituals performed during the festival is when single women are tossed onto a large Zori (straw sandal) by groups of men wearing Fundoshi (loincloths), to help them find a partner in the near future.

"I've heard that you can get married if you ride on this Zori (large straw sandal). After the first time I came here to ride with my friends, one of them really had a boyfriend and then the other got married," said nurse Aki Hiramatsu.

Apart from tossing single women on the Zori (large straw sandal), festival participants also engage in a series of games and sumo as well as painting festival goers' faces with charcoal to bring good fortune.

The festival is held during the third week of January on the Nagasaki prefecture island and its origins, as well as the root of its name, are surrounded by mystery.

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