This mud festival took place yesterday (Feb 25th) at Mimusubi Shrine in Yotsukaido over in Chiba prefecture which was about a 90 minute train ride away. Alongside the penis festival (a.k.a. kana matsuri) and nakizumo festival (sumo wrestlers making babies cry) this is another one of those quirky Japanese festivals which involved men in loincloths carrying newborn babies into a roped-off muddy swamp area where they then made a mark on their head in mud.
This was seemingly not too dis-similar to being baptised and I can only guess that it supposedly brings them good fortune in their life as was the case with the sumo wrestlers and babies at last years nakizumo event.
After that all the men returned for a final tussle in the mud. This was basically just one big mass brawl with mud flying everywhere including into a crowd consisting mainly of old women and men (and a load of school-kids on a field-trip) which was due to it not being on a weekend.