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Tagata Shrine is said to have been founded over 1500 years ago. The shrine is a fertility shrine and many people come here to pray to find love, cure ailments, and to pray for children. As a fertility shrine, there are phallic images all around the shrine precints. Within the shrine are wooden penises and outside the shrine are stones that look like penises. There is also a pair in which one resembles a *** and the other resembles a vagina. In the smaller building behind the honden there is a *** that if you donate money and rub the head, you will be blessed. There is yet another to the right of that building featuring a small *** with two large balls. Donating money here and touching the balls with your right hand will also give you blessings.
In spite of all the phallic objects around the shrine, the principal deity worshiped here is actually a female goddess, Tamahime no Mikoto. The shrine is said to have been built where her home once stood. She was left here to raise her children with her father after her husband was killed fighting a war, according to a legend.
Japan's fertility shrines are quite unique and interesting places to visit. They pique the curiosities of foreigners and Japanese alike as they are not so common.
The shrine is free.
Written Oct 15, 2012
After the 600-pound phallus has safely penetrated the shrine, the crowd turns its attention to scaffolding where, at 4 p.m., the city's top citizens start throwing mochi into the crowds. If you've had mochi, you probably think of it as a soft, chewy, slightly sweet desert -- but hose mochi have been infused with boiling water! These mochi have not, and are therefore very hard. Still, everyone is trying to catch these rice hockey pucks that sting like a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. It's a moshi mosh pit out there, with elbows flying and old ladies punching you in the balls (or so it seemed). Despite the competition, I caught one. Hey, I'm tall in this country and when I boxed out that octogenarian, she had no chance! This may mean that I'll have luck with my next attempts at either rice farming or conception, but we'll see about that!
Updated Mar 20, 2010
To say that I went to a Japanese religious ceremony is to severely underplay the Fertility festival at Tagata Shrine. With big p e n i s e s, lots of free sake, and a mochi ball catching competition at the end, it's a great way to do religion! These photos show the actual procession of the 13-foot, 600-pound wooden phallus carved new each year from Japanese cypress as it makes its way from Kamuno Shrine to Tagata Shrine. Afterwards, there is a mochi toss, which I'll describe in another tip (no pun intended).
...At 1 p.m. every March 15, a group of honored 42-year-old men carry the Hounen Matsuri for a mile through the streets of Komaki to the Tagata Shrine. As part of the parade, they are led by a standard bearer carrying a tall, graphically detailed p e n i s flag followed by the town's leading politicians (no, this is NOT the USA) and then a team of 36-year-old women holding meter-long wooden phalluses that are rubbed by the crowd as they pass by. Then comes a tree, a float carrying the female fertility goddess and a group of people handing out free sake. Following the goddess, of course, is the piece de resistance: the phallus enshrouded in purple (a concession to modesty some years ago when the p e n i s was smaller). After that comes more sake and more dicks, this time wielded by several dirty old men who really seem to enjoy running up to the cutest women in the crowd (who actually seem to give the enjoyment right back). This parade attracts lots of onlookers from all over the world, to include many Japanese families. It's a religious ceremony after all.
... The parade ends with a grand entrance under the tori of the Tagata Shrine and then the thrusting of the phallus into the main hall. Quickly, white robed religious people surround the phallus and begin a somber ceremony that is obscured from the revelers outside the hall, who await the moci toss.
Written Mar 20, 2010
The small Kumano Shrine appears to be quiet throughout much of the year, but is the beginning of the p e n i s parade held in Komaki every March 15. This is where the 600-pound phallus, newly-carved from Japanese cypress, begins its procession. I'm not sure whatthis place offers a visitor on the other 364 days of the year, maybe just peace and quiet.
Written Mar 19, 2010
The opposite of the Tagata Shrine is across town and in the hills: Ogata Jinja, home of the female kami. Here, nestled amidst the blooming spring plum trees, one walks around back to venerate several stones with openings shaped like vaginas. Of course, it is also pleasant to stroll up along the hills under the newly planted, flowering plum trees, also symbols of female fertility. Finally, you can purchase plaques and hang them in hope of good luck this year -- either in rice-growing or in reproduction. In an agricultural community as is Komaki, the sacred female is more important than the male, even though this temple seems to be mostly off to the side on 15 March.
Written Mar 19, 2010
Tagata Shrine has been around 1500 year-old, though the buildings and prolific phalluses attract a much younger crowd! Though this shrine was crowded the day I visited because it was destination of the mile-long p e n i s parade, it is a peaceful, prayerful place much of the year. Here, Japanese couples hoping to have babies come to ask the kami for fertility, rubbing and/or kissing a variety of wooden and stone items shaped like male genetalia. The most important buildings of the shrine are in the back, where a two-meter long phallus is housed, neatly surrounded with offerings of cucumbers, sake and oranges (the first two I understand, but oranges?). Off to the right is a shaded path leading to two bowling-ball-sized spheres that represent testicles. These are rubbed and prayed to by both men and women, and the balls themselves are fenced in by dick-shaped spires. Finally, after all that worship is done, you can buy a little plaque and hang it for good luck. Of course, it's also a male organ. This is great stuff!!
Updated Mar 19, 2010