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Miyajima Tamatori Festival
A bunch of almost naked men clambering on top of one another in the sea trying to capture a lucky ball on a hot summer day! The annual Tamatori (literally ‘treasure ball grab’) Festival is said to be based on a ritual one dates back to hundreds of years. After a ceremony within Itsukushima Shrine a ball is placed on a kind of tray which is suspending from a scaffold built over the water in front of the shrine. Teams of men dressed only in loincloths battle to reach and capture the ball while the tray moves up and down in hope of securing a year of good fortune.
The festival is usually held early in the afternoon, but the start time varies year to year, depending on the tides, so it’s best to call the Miyajima Tourist Association (0829) 44-2011 to confirm ahead of time.