Women join Japan's 'naked festival' for first time

STORY: Women officially join a ‘naked festival’ at a Japanese shrine for the first time in 1,250 years

Despite its name, women wear robes and shorts while men wear loincloths

The women do not join the festival's main event where men clash together to drive away evil spirits

[Emi Tachibana, Participant]

"I heard that women could participate so I definitely wanted to take part to help bring excitement to this town and festival."

The priest of the shrine says there had never been a ban on women participating

but it was socially accepted that they did not join

[Naruhito Tsunoda, priest]

"Nowadays, regarding festivals for men, or festivals for women - it can't be helped that there's been a history of them until now, but I believe the most important thing is for there to be a fun festival for everyone. I think God would be happiest about that too, so something that everybody can get excited about is best."