Just north of Nagoya city in Aichi Prefecture is the industrial city of Komaki, where Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi faced off in the Battle of Komaki Nagakute in 1584. On Kuboyama, a small hill where Hideyoshi had a fort constructed, near the ancient Tagata Shrine.
On March 15 every year, a rather strange festival takes place here, and gains a great deal of attention from all over the world, with many tourists flocking to this annual event.
The main focus of this rather surprising event is a huge,… let’s just say, “male symbol”, 60cm in diameter, and almost 3 meters long and weighing about 300 kilograms, mounted on a mikoshi portable shrine.
This male appendage is cut from a single hinoki cedar tree some 200 to 250 years old. The item of veneration is paraded through the streets, along with many smaller versions carried by shrine maidens.
Stalls along the route, and around the shrine sell all manner of amulets, souvenirs, and even foods shaped like the phallic symbol. The festival is dedicated to the gods of fertility and prosperity, and touching the focus of attention is said to bless you with children.
Tagata Shrine has a long history with its name appearing in reports dating back to 972, and is known as one of the Owari (modern-day Aichi Prefecture) districts’ stranger Power Spots. Today the Tagata Shrines’ Hounensai Festival continues to be a major annual attraction.
It’s an ancient fertility festival that provides a few eye-opening laughs.