Its hardly surprising this is one of the most infamous festivals in Japan!
When: 15th March every year
Where: Tagata Jinja Shrine, Komaki, just north of Nagoya, Japan
The Tagata Hounen Matsuri (Fertility Festival) involves a parade of wooden phalluses (including a two-metre one!) through the streets of the small farming town of Komaki.
Each year, a new giant wooden phallus is carved from a large hinoki (cypress) tree. In Japan newly made objects are thought to express more purity and vitality. The giant phallic sculpture is an offering to the local Shinto deities in the hope of a bountiful harvest. Pregnant women will ask to touch the tip of to bring a safe birth and good health for their baby.
The Shinto priest leads the procession, accompanied by local musicians playing ritual music on bamboo flutes. The preist purifies the route as he goes by scattering salt on either side of the path. Smaller wooden phalluses are carried by locals hoping for a good crop. The largest phallus is eventually carried into the shrine and offered to the gods amid great celebration.
The festival is held March 15th because spring is the time of regeneration where seeds sprout and dormant trees and plants that seem to be dead come back to life.
Have you been to the Tagata Hounen Matsuri in Japan yourself? If so, please tell us all about it! You can share your pics and videos on our facebook page too! Or if you just want to say hi, or leave a comment for any other reason, we’d love to hear from you.
During the festival barrels and barrels of sake (rice wine) are cracked open and distributed to the crowd, and it wouldn’t be a festival in Japan without street food like Yakitori Chicken. The festival is also full of “specially” shaped food such as candied bananas, phallic shaped lollipops and long hotdogs covered in mayonaise! Sekihan rice is often served on special occasions, holidays and festivals in Japan. Its red colour is considered the colour of happiness. Try our Yakitori Chicken, Teryaki Salmon and Sekihan rice recipes. Drink Shirozake (a mild sweet white sake).
Travel to Japan
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Enjoy your trip! And when you’re home we’d love you to come back and tell us all about it!