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Komaki-City Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

Date : 03/15/2018


  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)
  • Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

A strange festival involving the dedication of a giant symbol of manhood made of Japanese cypress

The festival is held every March 15, and in it a phallus, newly carved every year from Japanese cypress and more than 60 cm in diameter and 2 m long, is carried on a portable shrine by parade men of a "unlucky age" and offered to said shrine with prayers for a good harvest, the flourishing of all natural things and prosperous descendants. The sight of all this has led to the proceedings' becoming widely known as one of the world's strangest festivals, and on the day the temple grounds are filled with visitors from Japan and overseas.

Honen Festival of Tagata Shrine in Komaki-City, a Shocking but Traditional Fertility Festival

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

Komaki is a small, quiet, industrial city just north of Nagoya, home to hard working salt-of-the earth type people. Not much happens in Komaki, and so that is why the annual Honen Festival, held on March 15th to celebrate fertility and renewal, and featuring an absolutely huge male symbol, is such a shocker!

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

Komaki is famous for the castle atop Mt. Komaki, originally designed and built by Oda Nobunaga, and for being the site of the standoff between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu prior to the main Battle of Nagakute in the year 1584. But this city is also famous for the annual Honen Festival, a rather visual event also known as “The Penis Festival” on March 15th. The event draws a particularly large number of women to it, Japanese nationals or foreign tourists and expatriates alike, armed with cameras and bursting out into loud laughter as the parades’ Main Symbol passes by: a large, two and a half meter long, 60cm thick, 400kg male appendage.

Ancient Tagata Jinja Shrine

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

Tagata Jinja Shrine dates back over 1,500 years and its grounds are home to several phallic-shaped items, both man-made or naturally formed ones. Despite its risqué image and symbolism, the festival celebrating fertility and renewal is a traditional cultural event, steeped in history and mythology. According to ancient legends listed in the “Kogo Shui” scripture (dating back to A.D. 807), “Mitoshi-no-Kami”, the agriculture deity enshrined therein, appeared and instructed local farmers to use hemp leaves, yarn and, among other things, a phallic symbol, as offerings to keep locusts away and ensure abundant harvests. In the olden days, such items of veneration were loaned out to couples wishing for children, to women hoping to find a husband, or to farmers praying for a bumper crop. Upon being brought home, the phallic objects were worshiped until the desired result was achieved. The item would then be returned to the shrine, but in times when the faithful loaner was especially grateful, another similar object, crafted as a token of gratitude, would accompany the original one, making the collection at the shrine to grow as time passed by.

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

Celebrations commence at about 10:00 AM within Tagata Shrine, where stalls sell phallus-shaped candies, key-chains, cakes and cookies, chocolate coated bananas, all manner of wooden-carved figures and insinuating souvenirs.

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

The procession is led by Shinto priests in all their finery sprinkling salt along the route for purification, followed by flag bearers and then about 60 men, all aged 42 - the unlucky age for men - dressed in colorful traditional festival costumes, and working in teams of 12, carry the huge male-symbol stuck in a portable shrine through the streets. This symbol has grown gradually larger in its years of tradition, starting from a humble-sized symbol attached to a straw man, to the 2.5 meter carving seen today. Checking if its bigger than the previous year is one of the activities that keep attracting lots of people to the festival.

Honen Festival (Tagata Jinja Shrine)

The festival, although risqué and often full of innuendo, is also filled with fun, and some great photo opportunities and tales to shock your friends when you get home. You’ll be wanting to come again!

Oagata Shrine, with fertility rituals pairing those of Tagata Jinja Shrine.

If you’re looking to balance things out, by the way, near by the Tagata Shrine is the Oagata Shrine where the objects of worship are… you guessed it, female genitalia!
Click here for the Oagata Shrine Page.
(Picture to the right: Oagata Shrine, with fertility rituals pairing those of Tagata Jinja Shrine)

EVENT OVERVIEW

  • Souvenirs
  • Parking
  • Restaurant
Date : Honen Festival held annually on March 15th regardless of day of the week.
Other days of the year are open for normal visitation.
Holding time : Reservation not required for prayer services. Reception counter open 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM everyday including weekends and public holidays
Place : Tagata Jinja Shrine
Location : 〒485-0004
152, Tagata-cho, Komaki-city, Aichi
Fee : Admission free of charge for visitations
*: Prayer service charged
Parking : Available (cap. approx. 50 cars, within shrine's grounds and shared with buses and other large vehicles)
*: Parking not available for passenger cars on the day of Honen Festival (March 15), hence the use of public transportation is strongly advised. Additionally, traffic jams and restricting roadblocks may worsen the conditions for transport by car.
Restrooms : Available
Phone number : 0568-76-2906
Holidays : Open everyday

Note: This page may not be current due to update time differences between site databases.
Should accuracy be critical, please verify this information using a direct source, whenever possible.

ACCESS

  • Access by public transport
    Access by public transport
    •From Nagoya Station using Meitetsu trains (approx. 50min):
    Take the Meitetsu Inuyama Line bound to Inuyama, change trains to the Meitetsu Komaki Line at Inuyama Station, alight at Meitetsu Tagata Jinja-mae Station and walk 5min southeastwards.

    •From Nagoya Station using Nagoya City Subway (approx. 50min):
    Take the subway Higashiyama Line bound to Fujigaoka, change trains to the Meijo Line (Clockwise Direction) at Sakae Station, change trains to the Kami-Iida Line at Heiandori Station, alight at Meitetsu Tagata Jinja-mae Station and walk 5min southeastwards.

    •By taxi:
    -From Nagoya Airfield (Komaki Airport): approx. 25min northwards via Route 102.
    -From Meitetsu Komaki Station: approx. 15min northwards via Route 102 (under unfavorable traffic conditions may take about 20 to 30min)
  • Access by car
    Access by car
    Soon upon exiting Komaki I.C. of the Tomei Expressway and entering Route 41, move towards the rightmost lane heading northwards for 250m. Turn right at the Muranaka Crossing (村中) to enter Route 155 heading eastwards for 2.1km. Turn left at Komakihara crossing (小牧原) to enter Route 102 heading northwards for 1.8km. The shrine will be to your left, approx. 350m after Kubohonmachi crossing (久保本町).

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INFORMATION ON THE SURROUNDING AREA

Tagata Jinja ShrineKomaki-City

Tagata Jinja Shrine
The festival is held every March 15, and in it a phallus, newly carved every year from Jap...
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