Underwater Tug-of-War Festival

Underwater Tug-of-War Festival

January 15
It's not the Polar Bear Swim, but the annual tug-of-war in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, does involve people jumping into cold waters in the middle of winter. This is a ritual connected with the local Shinto shrine. Legend has it that a huge snake once menaced the waters of Hiruga Lake, which opens out into the Sea of Japan. The people drove the snake away by taking a huge rope, bigger than the snake, into the water. Today, young men struggle in a tug-of-war while standing in the lake. The rope symbolizes the snake, and the tug-of-war continues until the rope is pulled apart or cut in two. The event also serves as a ritual appealing for a good fishing season.
CONTACTS:
Fukui Prefecture
3-17-1 ote fukui-shi fukui-pref
Tsuruga, 910-8580 Japan
81-7-7032-1111
www.pref.fukui.lg.jp/english
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