Honen Matsuri of Tagata Shrine– A Festival With A Difference
March 15 2017 – Komaki – Aichi Prefecture
It was a sunny Wednesday.
I came to Tagata shrine which is famous for their annual festival called Honen matsuri or fertility festival celebrate every year on March 15 in Japan.
There are countless local festivals in Japan but none like the Honen festival.
The festival is nick-named “the Penis-Festival”.
Yes, I am serious and believe me this 1500 years history of religious ceremony is taken very seriously indeed.
Honen means prosperous year in Japanese, implying a rich harvest, while a matsuri is a festival.
The Honen festival and ceremony celebrate the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manner of prosperity and fertility.
Tagata shrine is located in the town of Komaki, just north of the city of Nagoya and take about 45 minutes from Nagoya station by train.
The station is a small and it looks like normally a quiet place but it was packed with people on 15th of March.
An important element of Japanese festivals are processions, in which the local shrine’s kami (Shinto deity) is carried through the town in mikoshi (palanquins).
It is the only time of the year when the kami leaves the shrine to be carried around town.
The festival’s main features are Shinto priests playing musical instruments, a parade of ceremonially garbed participants, all-you-can-drink sake, and a 280 kg (620 pound), 2.5 meter (96 inch)-long wooden phallus.
It is believed to bring happiness if you touch the small wooden phallus and girls who carry them encourage participants to touch it.
At about 2:00 p.m. everyone gathers at Shinmei Sha for the start of the procession. Shinto priests say prayers and impart blessings on the participants and mikoshi, as well as on the large wooden phallus, which are to be carried along the parade route.
Along the route, there are many stands where all sorts of foods and souvenirs (penis-and vagina-shaped candies and chocolate-covered bananas, wood penis sculptures and penis earrings) are sold.
Also the shrine sells amulets or books for the collection of shrine seals (Gosyuin-cho).
Sake is also passed out freely from large wooden barrels.
And the event of the mochi nage, at which time the crowd is showered with small rice cakes which are thrown down by the officials from raised platforms.
The atmosphere was colorful and light and everyone present, men and women, children were all enjoying themselves and having a great time.
|Address||152 Tagata-cho, Komaki, Aichi|
|Access||From Nagoya Station to Tagata Jinjya Mae station by Meitetsu Line and walk 5 minutes (total 45 minutes)|
|Honen matsuri||every year on March 15 in Japan|
*Please check for the latest information before visiting.