Japanese fertility festivals are celebrated with a load of phallic goods and more.

For better or for worse, Japanese Honen-sai (豊年祭), or fertility festivals, may just combine all the extreme stereotypes the world seems to have about the land of the Rising Sun. They are carried out with all the sincere reverence and gravity of a religious ceremony, but also make no qualms about selling phallic charms, foods, and generally celebrating all things penis.

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Source: Grape

While the abundance and commercialization of phallic imagery may be alarming at first sight, there is a serious nature and history to the entire ceremony. The festival, as the name implies, is to celebrate and wish for fertility and bountiful harvest for the upcoming year, which explains the penis-shaped foods and religious ornaments. Because of this, the event has been bestowed the affectionate nickname "Penis Festival" by foreign visitors.

Carefully marked flags, in case you came to the wrong festival

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Source: Grape

One of the festival's most famous incarnations takes place in the town of Komaki in Aichi prefecture, just north of Nagoya on March 15th, annually. Although technically a religious ceremony, the atmosphere of the proceedings is very jovial and celebratory as a gigantic (280 kilograms) wooden phallus that is especially crafted for the festival each year is paraded on a mikoshi (a portable Shinto shrine and palanquin) to be enshrined at the Tagata Shrine. While all of this is going on, free all-you-can-drink (seriously, they pour it out of barrels) sake is poured for participants as music is played.

The massive wooden phallus

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Source: Grape

A demonstration of its furious spinning

While you can purchase your own phallic shaped fertility statues and pray on your own for prosperity, harvest, and fertility, the streets are purified with salt thrown by priests, and after that the women pictured below carry these hand-crafted phalluses down the path. You can politely summon them over to you, as many visitors do, and rub the wooden shafts for good luck. So in a sense, you can ask these girls if you can touch their wooden dick.

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Source: Grape

So with the festival starting at 10:00 AM and finishing up around 4:30 PM, visitors are likely to work up an appetite. Vendors at the festival have you covered--just as long as you don't mind eating dick-shaped things! One popular festival food in Japan is choco-banana, or chocolate-covered bananas, so you can imagine how easily vendors tailor those to fit the phallic theme of the festival--complete with balls (sometimes marshmallows).

Choco-dicks!

If you prefer a little more meat on your stick...

As you can imagine, they provide for some colorful poses

RISAさん(@risa0605)が投稿した写真 -

In recent years vagina-shaped goods have also debuted

While this year has come and gone, those hoping to make the trek and join in on the festivities in future years can do so by traveling to Komaki. You can reach it by taking the Komaki Line from Inuyama and getting off at Tagata-jinja-mae station, or going to the address below.

田縣神社(たがたじんじゃ)

愛知県小牧市田県町152

Tagata-jinja-mae

Aichi Prefecture, Komaki-shi, Tagata-cho 152

Just remember not to get too caught up in the phallic food and free sake, and pray at the actual shrine!


By - grape Japan editorial staff.