The uncanny festival of Komaki

This festival held in Komaki (Aichi Prefecture) is one of these events that couldn't take place anywhere else than in Japan. It celebrates fertility in a unique way. If the reason for this festival holds a particular signification for the Japanese people, the way it is celebrated might seem a bit uncanny to us.

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A unique festival


The "Honen-sai", festival for fertility and good harvest, has been celebrated for more than 1500 years. The event was dated back to that period thanks to ancient pottery discovered in 1935. 

Every year,in the Komaki suburb, on the North side of Nagoya, a crowd of curious travelers and regulars comes to watch this ceremony afectionately nicknamed "The Penis Festival". 


 For long, Komaki was only a little town in the countryside. But it has become a must-see attraction. In it's Tagata temple you can observe many handmade statues representing every kind and shape of phallus. You could think, with this many representations, that this festival was dedicated to them but it's not.

Lollipops, cakes, statuettes and others are only here as offerings to wish "fertility" to your family and friends. These statues are here to allow couples to pray for a child, single people to pray for a spouse and fermers to have good harvest.  

 


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The Komaki festival

Every year, on March 15th at 10AM, the festival starts at the Tagata shrine. It is, of course, a very serious religious ceremony. A giant wooden statue, specifically crafted every year for the festival, is carried through the streets. Beforehand, priest spread salt on the streets in order to purify the way taken by the carriers. 

The carriers have to go through the city carrying a wooden phallus weighing about 400 kg. At the origin of the festival, the statue was smaller and attached to another statue representing a samurai. 


For some reason Japanese people are very open on the subject. Furthermore, this festival, celebrating health, luck in love and fertility, always takes place in a cheerful atmosphere. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the many available attractions for adults and children alike.

Even if, during the parade, free sake is given out to the crowd, no fights or problems have ever been to deplore.

The old statue, replaced by a new one, is recovered by private buyers or companies at the end of the festival. 


 


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How to get there?

To reach Komaki, you can take the Meitetsu line from the Shin Nagoya station to Inuyama.

Once in Inuyama, take the Komaki line. The Tagata Jinja (Tagata temple) is located just in front of the Tagatajinjamae station, 3 stops away from Inuyama. The total journey will take you about 30 minutes. 
 

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