Showing posts with label Aichi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aichi. Show all posts


Atsuta Shrine Festivals

. Aichi Prefecture - Festivals .

Atsuta Shrine Festivals

***** Location: Nagoya
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Observance


Atsuta Shrine (熱田神宮, Atsuta-jingū)
is a Shinto shrine traditionally believed to have been established during the reign of Emperor Keikō (71-130) located in Atsuta-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in Japan.
The shrine is familiarly known as Atsuta-Sama (Venerable Atsuta) or simply as Miya (the Shrine). Since ancient times, it has been especially revered, ranking with the Great Shrine of Ise.

The Kojiki explains that Atsuta Shingu Shrine was originally founded to house the imperial treasure sword,
Kusanagi no Tsurugi 草薙の剣

According to traditional sources, Yamato Takeru died in the 43rd year of Emperor Keiko's reign (景行天皇43年). The possessions of the dead prince were gathered together along with the sword Kusanagi; and his widow venerated his memory in a shrine at her home. Sometime later, these relics and the sacred sword were moved to the current location of the Atsuta Shrine. Nihonshoki explains that this move occurred in the 51st year of Keiko's reign, but shrine tradition also dates this event in the 1st year of Emperor Chūai's reign.

From 1872 through 1946, the Kasuga Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines.

This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the veneration of Atsuta-no-Ōokami. Also enshrined are the "Five Great Gods of Atsuta", all of whom are connected with the legendary narratives of the sacred sword --
Takehaya Susanoo-no-mikoto,
Yamato Takeru-no-mikoto,
Miyasu-hime no-mikoto, and
Take Inadane-no-mikoto.

Over 70 ceremonies and festivals are held annually at the shrine.

Hatsu-Ebisu (January 5):
Seeking good fortune in the new year from Ebisu, the God of Fortune.

Yodameshi Shinji (January 7):
The projected annual rainfall for the coming year is prophesized by measuring the amount of water in a pot kept underneath the floor of the Eastern Treasure House.

Touka Shinji (January 11):
see kigo below

Hosha Shinji (January 15):
Ceremony which involves shooting an arrow at a wooden piece called chigi fixed at the center of a huge mark.

Bugaku Shinji (May 1):
A ceremonial dance from the Heian era is performed outdoors on a red painted stage.

Eyoudo Shinji (May 4):
A festival to commemorate the return of the sacred sword in the reign of Emperor Tenji.

Shinyo-Togyo Shinji (May 5):
A festival in which portable shrine (mikoshi) is carried in a formal procession to the Western Gate, where ceremonies and prayers for the security of the Imperial Palace are performed in the open air.
In the Meiji period and Taisho period, this procession moved in sober and solemn silence. The ceremony at the gate was brief, lasting only 20 minutes; and then the mikoshi and its attendants returned into the Shrine precincts. Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa provided a new mikoshi and a complete set of robes and other accouterments for this festival on the occasion of repairs to the shrine in the 1457-1459 (Chōroku 1-3).

Rei Sai (June 5):
see kigo below
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

kencha sai 献茶際 tea offering ceremony
kenka sai 献花祭 flower offering ceremony


kigo for mid-summer

Atsuta matsuri 熱田祭 (あつたまつり) Atsuta festival
shoobu matsuri 尚武祭(しょうぶまつり)"military arts festival"
..... shoobu e 尚武会(しょうぶえ)

makiwarabune 巻藁船(まきわらぶね)ships with lanterns
(makiwara is a roll of straw, used for practising Japanese archery. On the ships, this straw rolls are used to fix the lanterns.)

The main festival of this shrine, on June 5.
It used to be on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, like the tango seasonal festival.

Portable tabernacles (mikoshi) in various styles are carried along the approaches to the shrine; many mikoshi are carried by children, who parade to the sound of drums and bamboo festival flutes.
At night, groups of 365 lanterns on huge boats (makiwarabune) float down the river and are then displayed at the East and West Gate of the shrine.
A firework lights the night sky too.

This festival commemorates an Imperial proclamation (semmyō) issued in 1872 (Meiji 5). After 1906 (Meiji 39), exhibitions of judo, fencing (kendo), and archery (kyudo) are presented for the gratification of the kami. Acrobats, artists and dancers join the parade and many stalls sell local specialities along the road.


kigo for the New Year

Atsuta tooka shinji
熱田踏歌神事 (あつたとうかしんじ)
Atsuta shrine dance and song ceremony

January 11

CLICK for more photos

A variation on an annual ceremony (Tooka no sechi-e) of the Imperial Court in the Heian period (10th-12th Century)
On this day, the shrine dance becomes a prayer in movement hoping for bumper crops of the year.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

.Tooka Sechi-e 踏歌節会 Dance and song festival
at shrine Sumiyoshi Jinja in Osaka
A ritual of the same name is held on January 11 at Atsuta Jingu in Atsuta Ward, Nagoya.


Miya Juku : Station Nr. 41 at the old Tokaido Road

Atsuta shinji (熱田神事) Atsuta Shrine Ceremony
woodblock by Hiroshige Utagawa

. . . CLICK here for more Photos !

Miya-juku (宮宿, Miya-juku) was the forty-first of the fifty-three stations of the Tōkaidō. It is located in the Atsuta-ku section of the city of Nagoya, in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It was six km from Narumi-juku, the preceding post station.
In addition to being a post station on the Tōkaidō, it was also part of the Minoji (a minor route which runs to Tarui-juku on the Nakasendō) and the Saya Kaidō 佐屋. As a result, it had the most hatago lodgings of any post station along the Tōkaidō, in addition to its two honjin main lodgings for feudal lords.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. The 53 stations of the Tokaido 東海道五十三次 .

From Atsuta there were two possibilities to reach the next station, Kuwana.
One was via Saya and then by boat on the river Kisogawa 木曽川.
See Matsuo Basho below.


FOOD served at Atsuta Jingu

. "Miya Kishimen 宮きしめん" Kishimen shrine noodles

. Fuji Dango 藤団子 Wisteria Dumplings


Kiyomizu Sha 清水社 Kiyomizu Shrine
in the woods around 熱田神宮 Atsuta Jingu

Behind the shrine is the sacred spring, dedicated to
. Mizuha no me no kami 罔象女神 / 弥都波能売神 .
Mizuhanome ミヅハノメ
o shimizu お清水 sacred clear water

There was once a samurai with an eye disease. When he washed his eyes with this spring water, he got healed soon. ME no kami - 目 means eyes.

The water helps you obtain a beautiful skin if you wash your face with the spring water.

If you pour water on a stone in the spring with a dipper, hitting three times, your wish will come true.

. biyoo jisha 美容寺社 praying for beauty .

. Amulets for Eye Disease .


Matsuo Basho visited here on his trip "Nozarashi Kiko" 野ざらし紀行.
He wrote

I went to Atsuta to worship.
The grounds of the shrine were utterly in ruins, the earthen wall collapsed and covered with clumps of weeds. In one place a rope marked the remains of a smaller shrine, in another was a stone with the name of a god now unworshipped. All around, mugwort and longing fern grew wild. Somehow the place drew my heart, more than if it had been splendidly maintained.

shinobu sae karete mochi kau yadori kana

even the fern of longing
is withered; buying rice-cakes
at an inn

Tr. Barnhill

This hokku has the cut marker KANA at the end of line 3.

even the shinobu fern has withered
and I buy mochi ricecakes
at the inn . . . 

Tr. Gabi Greve

. WKD : shinobu, shinobugusa 忍ぶ草 Hare's-foot fern .
Davallia mariesii
kigo for all autumn

- - - - -

togi naosu kagami mo kiyoshi yuki no hana
togi-naosu kagami mo kiyoshi yuki no hana

freshly polished,
the sacred mirror too is clear:
blossoms of snow

Tr. Barnhill

Polished anew
the holy mirror too is clear–
blossoms of snow

Tr. Shirane

. shinkyoo 神鏡 the "divine mirror" .
They remind of the mikusa no kamudakara 三種の神器, sanshu no shingi, the famous three imperial regalia.
At the shrine in Atsuta, the sword Kusanagi (草薙劍, Kusanagi no Tsurugi) is kept and maybe a replica of the divine mirror Yata no Kagami 八咫鏡.

Basho's disciple in Atsuta :
. - Hayashi Tooyoo 桐葉 Hayashi Toyo - .

"Nozarashi Kiko" 野ざらし紀行
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Saya Kaidoo 佐屋街道 The Saya Road

Atsuta Jingu 熱田神宮
Iwatsuka Shuku 岩塚宿
Manba Shuku 万場宿
Kamori Shuku 神守宿
Saya Shuku 佐屋宿
Kuwana Shuku 桑名宿

source : kaidolist/sayakaido

From Atsuta there were two possibilities to reach the next station of the Tokaido, Kuwana.
One was via Saya 佐屋 and then by boat on the river Kisogawa 木曽川.
Basho choose this road on his last trip to Kamigata.

He stayed at the home of Hermit Yamada 陰士山田 on the 25th day of the 5th lunar month in 1694 元禄7年5月25日. Together with other disciples they had a haikai meeting.

kuina naku to hito no ieba ya Saya domari

"the water rail calls there”
people say, and so
staying over at Saya

Tr. Barnhill

This is a greeting poem for his host Yamada.
The cut marker YA is at the end of line 2.

Now there is also a memorial mount with a stone of the Basho poem.
kuinazuka 水鶏塚(くいなつか)


shinryoku no Atsuta ni ogamu bakari nari

at Atsuta shrine
in all this fresh green
I can only pray

Yamamoto Shigeo
source :

Related words

***** . WKD : Main Index  

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Aichi prefecture Nagoya


. Regional Festivals - From Hokkaido to Okinawa .


Aichi Prefecture - 愛知県

Located in the Chūbu region.
The capital is Nagoya. I

Former provinces of Owari and Mikawa.
尾張国 Owari no kuni
三河国 Mikawa no kuni
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Aichi - Entries of this BLOG .


Arimatsu Float Festival
Early October

. Atsuta Shrine Festivals 熱田神宮 .

. Chiryuu matsuri  知立祭り Chiryu Festival  .  
Chiryuu Jinja 知立神社 Chiryu Shrine 
- Chiryu Dashi Bunraku 知立山車文楽 Chiryu festival float with puppet theater 

Hadaka matsuri naked festival
Konomiya, Inazawa

Kakuozan Spring Festival
April 11th – 12th

. Kazamatsuri 風まつり Wind Festival .
and Utari Jinja Ta Matsuri 菟足神社田祭り
Utari Jinja 莵足神社

Maruhachi Day
August 8th – Hisaya-Odori Park Nagoya

Nagoya Castle Cherry Blossom Festival
Nagoya Castle Summer Festival
Nagoya Festival - Oct 3rd and 4th

Nagoya Port Marine Day Festival
July 16th

Nagoya Sumo Tournament

Okazaki City – Ieyasu Parade
April 5th

. Okkawa 乙川 "Dashi" Float Festival .

Osu Summer Festival - Osu Kannon
July 31 and August 1st - Banshoji Temple

Setomono Festival, Pottery
2nd Sat and Sun of September


Tanuki bo no te 田貫棒の手祭 Stick Festival at Tanuki village
Third Sunday in October
at 西尾 Nishio

- quote -
A famous form of acrobatics mixed with martial arts, the “Bo-no-Te” (lit. “Bar Hand” or “Hand on Stick”), once called “Bojutsu”, or “The Art of the Bar”, is still performed during specific festivals around Aichi Prefecture.

Every year at the Tanuki Shrine, in Nishio-City, a festival is held with demonstrations of this unique technique, which is designated as Aichi Prefecture Intangible Folkloric Cultural Heritage.
- source : -



. Tenteko matsuri てんてこ祭り fertility festival .
January 3
tenteko sasa てんてこ笹 Tenteko bamboo grass


Wakaba-sai festival
Toyokawa, Ushikubo Hachimansha shrine
is nicknamed “Unagoji festival” after the local name of “maggot” because participants creep along on the streets like fly larvae.
One of the most unique folk festivals in Japan, the event is believed to trace its origin to the Sengoku period of warring states era from the late 15th to late 16th centuries. It reportedly comes from an occasion during the era in which local farmers were wined by a generous warlord so much that they could barely walk home.
During the climax of the festival on April 10, a historic dashi float crafted during the Edo Period (1603-1867) paraded along the local district to the shrine for the first time in half a century.
source :


三谷祭 in October
蒲郡市 Gamagoori town


External LINKS :

source :

- Reference -

Related words

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan - GANGU . 

. Regional Dishes from Japan - WASHOKU .

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Naoi Matsuri Aichi


Driving away evil (Naoe matsuri)

***** Location: Aichi, Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


Naoi no shinji 儺追の神事 (なおいのしんじ)
Naoi ritual for driving away evil
..... naoe matsuri 直会祭(なおえまつり) Naoe festival
..... naoi matsuri 儺追祭(なおいまつり)
Naoi Festival

On the 13th of the first lunar month.
At the shrine Konomiya 国府宮神社 (Koo no Miya Jinja)
in Inazawa town, Aichi.
愛知県稲沢市. Aichi, former Owari province.

This is also known as the "Naked Festival" of Shrine Owari Ookuni tama Jinja
Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri

Photos by Philbert Ono, 2007 :
source : MORE PHOTOS !

On the day before the festival 50 bags of kagami-mochi ritual rice cakes are offered to the deity.
On the festival day
Many thousand naked men, only clad in a white loincloth and white tabi socks, fight around the "man of god" 神男 . They try to "drop off" the impurities of last year and cleanse themselves for the coming year.

Afterwards, the mochi are cut and eaten by all to participate of the good luck for the coming year.

This festival in this form dates back to end of the Edo period.

It started in 787, when Emperor Shotoku Tenno 称徳天皇 (Shootoku Tennoo) ordered all the Kokubun-Ji government temples to hold rituals to ward off evil and the regent of Owari (Owari kokushi 尾張国司) started this ceremony.
A man passing the shrine would be taken captive and all the impurities were laid on him. He was then offered to the deities for purification and after that, he could continue his travels.
Human sacrifices were never made in this case, only ritual ones.

Homepage of the shrine, with photos:
source :


tsuina 追儺(ついな)rituals for driving away evil

. Tsuina - Driving away evil spirits .


直会 (なおらい)- naorai

A banquet that accompanies a matsuri.

Usually understood as a meal consisting of the offerings made at the festival after its conclusion, the naorai is actually one of the constituent elements of matsuri.

According to the Association of Shinto Shrines' Jinja saishiki, a naorai is included in major rites (taisaishiki), middle rites (chūsaishiki) and minor rites (shōsaishiki).

As for the actual performance of naorai,
"First, The person in charge sets out the food and drink.
Next, they pour the sacred drink, and all assembled drink.
Next, the naorai music is performed.
Next, the person in charge removes the dishes."

Also, where individual shrines have a specific practice that derives from a tradition, the naorai is performed. As we can see from this provision, there are many shrines preserving ancient practices in naorai.

Naorai are performed at the end of daijōsai and niinamesai, and these are called the toyonoakari no setchi-e, where white and black sake: (shiroki and kuroki) was presented to the assembled retainers. In an Imperial Proclamation of the Emperor Shōtoku we can see the expressions "Today is the day of the toyonoakari-kiko (ceremonial dinner) of the naorai of the Ōnie" and "Today is the day of the toyonoakari-kiko of the naorai of the niinae."

In the Engishiki it is mentioned that there was a naorai-den at Kasuga Shrine (now Kasuga Taisha) and also there was a building called the naorai-in at the Grand Shrines of Ise.

In any case it is said that the naorai has been conducted as a very important part of ceremonies and rites since ancient times. The word naorai is usually thought to derive from nahoriahi. The first character of the word connotes the end of a period of purifying body and mind for ritual (saikai), of returning to everyday life.

In contrast, another theory by Orikuchi Shinobu posits a connection to the naobi no kami. Accordingly the meaning of naorai would be worship of these gods of purification at the conclusion of a ceremony, having moved to a different place, as an apology for any offences committed during the ceremony.

Another interpretation identifies the first character with the idea of sitting down before a table set for a meal, and the second character with the idea of 'all meeting together.' Needless to say, this is a religious event but if it means "after the conclusion of the ceremonies, the sake (miki) and food offerings (shinsen) presented to the kami are taken down and people partake of them" then it does not have any element or meaning of ending purification.
source : Mogi Sadasumi, Kokugakuin, 2006

. Sake 酒 rice wine for rituals and festivals .


a sweet potato shochu 芋焼酎 shnaps called Naorai.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

- WASHOKU - Japanese Food Culture -
. Food and Rituals .


After a purification ritual, people buy a set of talismans for the new year.
It inlcudes some sweets too.

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


There are other shrines called "Okuni Shrine" in Japan.

Okuni jinja 小國神社 Okuni Shrine
Okuni Shrine located in Mori-machi, Shuchi-gun, Shizuoka Pref. is a shrine with plentiful mythology and natural beauty.
The enshrined deity is Omunachi (Okuninushi) no Mikoto. The original shrine was located in Mt. Motomiya, but it was transferred to the present place in 555, when a holy spirit appeared in the mountain. Honden (the main hall) and Haiden (oratory) are of Taisha-zukuri style. The grove of trees in the precinct is called “the Ancient Forest,” where old cedar trees of several hundred years old create superb atmosphere.

The shrine is worshipped by the people all over ex-Enshu province (present-day western part of Shizuoka Pref.) and as many as 300,000 people come to offer prayers on the New Year’s Day. Visitors can enjoy natural beauty from season to season such as cherry blossoms, iris in the iris garden beside the entrance of the shrine, and autumn foliage.

Junidan Bugaku (twelve dances), which is dedicated in the annual festival in April, and the dance in Taasobi Matsuri (festival for good harvest) in January are designated as the prefectural Important Intangible Cultural Properties.
source :


Related words

***** . NEW YEAR - the complete SAIJIKI

. Naked Festivals (hadaka matsuri 裸祭り) .

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Nagoya Matsuri


Nagoya Festival (Nagoya Matsuri)

***** Location: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
***** Season: Mid-Autumn
***** Category: Observance


Nagoya matsuri 名古屋祭り Nagoya Festival
third weekend of October

The procession of ancient famous feudal lords, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, is a highlight. More than 700 persons take part in this super-parade.


The Nagoya festival is perhaps the biggest festival that the city of Nagoya.
The festival started way back in the fifties and has slowly graduated in to being the most important festival of the city. The festival is attended by thousands of people and is a top draw among the tourists and visitors.

The event celebrates three most helmeted samurai heroes belonging to the Nagoya area, the festival is held every year on the third weekend of October. The nucleus of all the activities is the Sakae district mainly around the Oasis 21 complex, Hiasaya-Odori Park and the television tower.

The highlight of the whole Nagoya festival is the Samurai heroes' parade where a humongous parade walks down the road engulfing one and all in the wave of the festivities. Several likenesses of the three feudal lords are seen sitting on the superbly decorated festival floats and are seen having a jolly good time.
source :

CLICK for more photos CLICK for more photos

Japanese HP

the various parades

English PDF guidebook

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Nagoya Basho 名古屋場所
Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament

kigo for late summer

. Nagoya Castle 名古屋城 Nagoya joo

. Dolls from Nagoya /名古屋張子だるま  

. WASHOKU ... Food from
Aichi Prefecture and Nagoya


Other annual festivals in Nagoya

Tagata Fertility Festival

Atsuta Festival - on the 5th of June at the shrine Atsuta Jingu.

Tanabata Festival
Minato Festival (Port Festival)

Nagoya Castle Summer Festival



Related words

***** WKD Reference

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Honen Matsuri Harvest Festival


Honen Matsuri (Hoonen Matsuri 豊年祭)

***** Location: Tagata Shrine, Aichi
***** Season: Early Summer
***** Category: Observance


Shrine Tagata Jinja
豊年祭(ほうねんさい / ほうねんまつり)
hoonensai / hoonen matsuri
May 15

CLICK for more photos of the festival

This festival is better known in English as
PENIS FESTIVAL, for obvious reasons.

CLICK for original LINK, Japanese TAGATA

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

inkei 陰茎(ペニス)penis

. WASHOKU - Sex and Food at the Festival  


Good Harvest Festival. A festival held at Ōagata Shrine (Ōagata jinja, Oagata Jinja 大縣神社) in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture. The Sunday closest to March 15 is the festival day. Also called the Hime no Miya Hōnen Festival. The festival complements the Good Harvest Festival of Tagata Shrine and is famous for the worship of genitalia.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Called the Yin (in or female) festival in contrast to the Yang (yō or male) festival of Tagata Shrine, rocks symbolizing the female genitals are enshrined.
There is a procession of a sacred palanquin (mi-koshi) representing the female genitals, great banners (ō-nobori), and decorated horses. Good luck mochi are scattered from a sacred palanquin carrying a giant clam. In front of the shrine hall onlookers scramble for valuable items hanging from the large sakaki. These are talismans for safe birth, getting married, and satisfaction in married life.

There is also the Good Harvest Festival on the Sunday closest to March 15 at Tagata Shrine in Komaki City, Aichi Prefecture. It is said that this transporting of the deity rite is based on a legend about the enshrined kami, Takeinazumi-no-mikoto, who had an enormous penis and took to wife the local Aratahime-no-mikoto. The festival involves the transporting of the deity from Shinmei Shrine or Kubo Temple to Tagata Shrine. A linga (penis) almost two meters in length rides on the sacred palanquin, following a large banner upon which a penis is drawn. The banner is carried by youths, and at the shrine the onlookers scramble to claim pieces of it. The talismans that are on the banner pieces are skewered, and it is said that if these are placed in the fields the harvest will be good. It is also said they will bless one with good relationships and keep away sexual diseases. It is said that if one does not attend both this festival and the Yin festival at Ōagata Shrine then one will not prosper.
— Mogi Sakae
source : — Mogi Sakae / Kokugakuin University


Tagata Jinja is a Shinto shrine in Komaki just north of Nagoya, and as such is just one of many that can be found throughout Japan. It symbolizes the strong spatial and temporal linkage of the people to the community of Komaki, which until comparatively recently was a farming area. The Hounen festival at Tagata shrine is one of the most famous (or infamous?) festivals in Japan. Amongst foreigners visiting Aichi Prefecture it is frequently referred to as the "penis shrine", or "Japanese penis festival", primarily due to the ancient Hounen Matsuri (a festival celebrating fertility and renewal), which is held here every March 15th.

Every year on March 15 a huge two and a half meter wooden phallus is carried the short distance between two shrines attracting visitors from all over Japan and international media attention. The festival is fun with a lot of sake drinking, however the background of the festival is rather more serious. A shrine is a place of worship. It houses divine spirits and preserves the memory and practice of many aspects of Japanese culture. This file is intended to introduce some of the history, mythology, rituals, and customs of Tagata Jinja.

Tagata Jinja is believed to be about 1500 years old, due to discoveries in 1935 of an ancient sword and extensive pottery fragments. These days the shrine is surrounded by suburbia, but until recently it was surrounded by a forest called "Agata", a name believed to have derived from the name of one of the rulers of the local area during the end of the Yamato period (approx 3rd-5th century AD). These rulers were warriors who settled the area from Nara as the emerging feudal Japanese state defeated and displaced indigenous Ainu tribes and pushed its frontiers to the east. According to the official history of the shrine, the daughter of the feudal lord was called Tamahime, and was bethrothed to Takeinadane. The tradition holds that Takeinadane was killed in a distant battle and that his wife and children (and powerful father in law) developed the area. Tagata Jinja stands on the site of Tamahime's residence, and she is the principal deity (called kami in Japanese) enshrined here.

Enshrined as Tamahime-no-mikoto, she is worshipped in the main sanctuary of the building called the honden. This is the main shrine building. Behind and to the left of this structure, you can find another building called the Shinmeisha which contains a large number of natural and man-made objects, almost all of which are either shaped like a penis or have some phallic theme. It is important to understand that the worship is not of the phalli, but instead a worship of the earth, of the power that nature has through renewal and regeneration. It is this context that provides the phallus with its significance.

With everything from penis shaped candy to suck on, phallus keychains, azuki filled dumplings in the shape of the male member, and small wooden objects to take home as souvenirs, it is easy to think that it is the phallus that is being worshipped. This is not the case. Each of the hundreds of objects in the shrine buildings are essentially offerings to the enshrined deity, and are venerated as such.
In the past, the shrine often lended these phalluses to those in need, for example a couple wishing to conceive, an individual searching for a suitable spouse, or to cure childhood illnesses. The objects were returned with interest, for after the desired result was obtained the borrowed phallus was returned to the shrine, along with a new object donated in gratitude.

However what the veneration is about though is the worship of a feminine deity. The kami is female and embodies fertility and fecundity. Not far from Tagata shrine there is another place of worship called Ogata (Oogata) Jinja, where the objects are representative of female genitalia. In an agricultural community, the sacred feminine was worshipped, and the rituals that have survived to this day at the Tagata shrine were celebrations of this, conducted in order to ensure bountiful agricultural harvests, regeneration and renewal as well as human birth. In this way the Hounen matsuri is similar to other fertility rituals around the world. Hounen means bountiful year.
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.

March 15th Hounen-sai:
For most of the year, Tagata Jinja is very quiet. Most of the visitors are young couples, sometimes coming to pray for successful conception, sometimes coming to give thanks for safe child birth. Tagata's fertility festival, as with most festivals in Japan, is treated in a lighthearted way with much sake and noisy behavior. Modern Japanese society is less dependent on the vagaries of seasons and harvests and so the importance of agricultural traditions has faded, however it is obvious that people do take it seriously, solemnly approaching the permanent shrines and praying in silence. You see the occasional busload of tourists, often from Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, but for the most part Tagata is silent. In the lead up to March 15th, there is constant preparation, however most of it is behind the scenes.

The matsuri, known as the Hounen-sai, has always had the objective of ensuring a bountiful harvest. It is mostly a procession symbolizing the visit of the male Takeinadane to the powerful and waiting female Tamahime-no-mikoto. While not a matriarchal society, women held high social status in the Yamato period and after marriage were usually not required to join their spouse's household. The young warrior Takeinadane probably visited his wife instead of living together. These visits are symbolized in the procession.

Each year, a new giant wooden phallus 大男茎型 (おおおわせがた) of about 2 meters length and 60 cm diameter is carved from a large hinoki (cypress) tree. In Japan newly made objects are thought to express more purity and vitality. The tree is brought to the shrine for purification rituals during the coldest part of the winter, before a master craftsman begins to shape it. The craftsman uses only traditional tools and wears clothing that has also been purified through rituals at the shrine. It is this phallus that will be the central focus of the procession, and then be placed into the Shinmeisha shrine as the principal phallus after the festival.

Originally the phallus was much smaller and attached to a straw effigy of a samurai warrior, possibly representing Takeinadane. However in time this was considered a bit too risque even for a fertility ritual, so the effigy was discarded and the phallus was paraded by itself. As its size was still about 1 meter long, the phallus was paraded by itself, carried by 4 or 5 people. However, this practice was also altered with the partial shielding of the phallus by a small portable shrine (mikoshi), the same style that houses it today.

As if to compensate for not being fully revealed, the size of the phallus has grown considerably over the years until it is now about 2.5 meters (13 feet) long and weighs 280 kilograms (620 pounds). It protudes from both ends of the portable shrine, and when considering the extra weight of the later, the bearers are basically struggling under a weight of 400 kilograms (885 pounds). Some 60 men in total (sometimes more) work in teams of 12 to deliver it to Tagata Shrine.

The organization and funding of the festival requires months of constant preparation and close coordination between shrine, village and regional authorities including the police. It is a major event. The procession begins at Kumano shrine about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from Tagata Shrine.

CLICK for original LINK The parade is lead by a priest, who acting as a herald purifies the route by scattering salt on either side of the path the shrine will take on its journey. He is followed by standard bearers, the last of which carries a tall banner about 3 feet wide and seven feet high. This banner has a huge phallus painted on it that is sufficiently graphic that it could be used to teach anatomy.

Next there is a group of Shinto priests, who accompany one of their members dressed as the deity Sarutahiko-no-okami, distinctive with red face, large protruding nose and a shock of hair. He fulfills the role of the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu from heaven to earth - the sun goddess and giver of all life. Sarutahiko-no-okami is followed closely by 2 men carrying a chest containing offerings of food (rice and fruit) as well as a phallus shaped stone(an example of one of the natural objects referred to above). Accompanying them and usually stirring up the crowd is the sake cart, with the volunteers attending to the cart dispensing sake in paper cups to anyone close enough to reach.

With the crowd excited, it is time for the main event, the arrival of the two portable shrines. First is the shrine carrying a wooden statue of Takeinadene-no-mikoto, the visiting husband of the agricultural deity. And finally it is time for the big penis, the huge hinoki-wood phallus. It is heavy, but at this stage is carried by 12 men who are all aged 42. For women the unlucky age was 36, for men 42.

Once the newly carved giant phallus arrives at the shrine it is enshrined in the Shinmei shrine for the next year. The old phallus is sold to local businesses or private homes. It is perhaps an unsettling thought that these phalli are all over the neighborhood. The new owner makes an altar where the phallus is installed and venerated with periodic rituals and offerings.

source : Yamasa Institute, Aichi prefecture


There are many other festivals in Japan for a bountiful harvest.
And other festivals where the penis is the object of veneration.

at the shrine Dontsuku Jinja in Shizuoka静岡県賀茂郡東伊豆町稲取の「どんつく神社」
The penis (don) is sticking out (tsuku). On the first tuesday/wednesday in June there is a big festival.
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In Fukuoka there is a "Man Soul Rock", connected to the "Woman Soul Rock" in the sea with a straw rope. In November, there is a Male Soul Festival 男魂祭.
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phallus Daruma from my collection

dankon 男根 inkei 陰茎 penis

- - More about the phallic connection to Daruma:

Daruma’s Evolution into a Phallic Talisman
Example of Daruma art lending itself to phallic symbolism
As shown ... ,
Daruma artwork lent itself easily to phallic symbolism without any need for folkloric references. Yet, there is little doubt that Daruma’s metamorphosis into the male organ was pushed along by the widespread use in the late Edo era of the armless and legless Daruma tumbler doll talisman against smallpox. When knocked on its side, the doll pops back to the upright position and therefore symbolizes
(1) a speedy recovery from illness, akin to “getting back on one’s feet;” or
(2) resilience, undaunted spirit, and determination.

Such imagery can be easily employed to describe the down-up, soft-hard nature of the male sexual organ. With only a little imagination, one can easily understand why Daruma paintings and talismanic representations fell naturally under the same phallic sway. Says scholar Bernard Faure: “Until the Meiji period, phallic representations of Daruma in stone or papier mache were sold.

The name ‘Daruma’ was also a nickname given in the Edo period to prostitutes, perhaps because, like the doll, these specialists of tumble could raise the energy of their customers........ There is also in Zen iconography a representation of the ’erect Bodhidharma.’ The sexual symbolism is played out in the ukiyoe [woodblock prints], where Daruma appears as woman — a courtesan, or a transvestite Daruma and Okame. A representation in which one sees him in the company of two prostitutes — male and female — on a boat made from a reeds associates the sexual motif with that of the crossing of the Yangzi River............[also] as Hartmut Rotermund has been pointed out, the image of Daruma standing up (okiagari Daruma) connotes metaphorically the fact of recovering from an illness, of overcoming it rapidly and lightly.”

- source : Mark Schumacher


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Wayside Deities and Fertility Rites


A deity born from a penis
Okuyamatsumi no kami 奥山祇命(おくやまつみのみこと)

A kami produced from the belly of the fire deity Kagutsuchi when he was beheaded by his father Izanagi. According to Kojiki, Izanagi's wife Izanami died as the result of burns received when giving birth to the fire deity. Grieving at Izanami's death, Izanagi cut off Kagutsuchi's head with his ten-span sword, thus producing some eight kami from Kagutsuchi's blood and body, including Okuyamatsumi.

The other deities included
Masakayamatsumi no kami (head),
Odoyamatsumi no kami (chest),
Okuyamatsumi no kami (penis),
Shigiyamatsumi no kami (left hand),
Hayamatsumi no kami (right hand),
Harayamatsumi no kami (left foot), and
Toyamatsumi no kami (right foot).

In the same episode as related in an "alternate writing" of Nihongi, five deities were produced from Kagutsuchi, but Okuyamatsumi's name is not listed among them.
source : Yumiyama Tatsuya . Kokugakuin University


Fertility Festival
With spring comes a rash of fertility festivals, designed to further the success of the year’s crops. These have ancient origins and go back to a time when the very existence of villagers depended on the success of the harvest. In a country of unpredictable weather and constant disasters, beseeching the help of the kami was a matter of vital importance.
One such festival happens every year on Feb. 11 in the Yamato basin near Omiwa Jingu, when two neighbouring shrines hold a joint festival. The male kami of one shrine is symbolically coupled with the female kami of the other by the use of phallic and vaginal shaped rice ropes.
source :


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In Kawasaki in the grounds of Wakamiya Hachiman Jingu 若宮八幡宮 at the shrine Kanayama Jinja 金山神社 on the first sunday in April a big Penis Festival is held and attracts many foreigners from the Kanto area.

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Reference : Kanayama Shrine Penis Festival

Kanayama Shrine 金山神社 Kawasaki

This shrine in Kawasaki is especially popular with foreigners.
During the annual Phallus Festival (Kanamara Matsuri かなまら祭) in the first week of April many replicas can be seen.

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The exact dates vary: the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. The penis, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

spring in the air
with buds shiny tender shapes--
kanamara matsuri

- Shared by Brinda Buljore -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013


hoonen ya hachikiresoo na uma no shiri

year with a bountiful harvest -
the rear side of the horse
is almost bursting

Kintoo Yuuko 金藤優子
Tr. Gabi Greve


penis festival ...
the number of foreigners grows
year by year

Nakayama Ishino, 2008

Related words

***** . tsuburosashi つぶろさし tsuburo fertility dance
Sado Island, June 15 



Yoshida Fire Festival



Yoshida Fire Festival (Yoshida himatsuri, Yoshida chinkasai)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Early Autumn
***** Category: Observance


August 26 and 27
The highlight of Mt. Fuji's Tourist season. Together with the Naked Festival of Aichi and the Belt Festival of Shimada, Yoshida's Fire Festival is one of the "Three Most Unique Festivals of Japan."

Fire Extinguishing Festival (Chinkasai 鎮火際)
Yoshida no Himatsuri 吉田の火祭り

Fire Festival at the shrine Fuji Sengen in Yoshida Town
Fuji Sengen Jinja no Himatsuri 富士浅間神社の火祭り

Yoshida himatsuri 吉田火祭 (よしだひまつり)
Yoshida Sengen matsuri 吉田浅間祭(よしだせんげんまつり)

susuki matsuri 芒祭(すすきまつり)"pampas grass festival"
hibuse matsuri 火伏祭(ひぶせまつり) "fire prevention festival"


© Chris Roeske

"The Fire Festival" refers to the two days of activity that surround the ending of the Japanese Summer. The first day, August 26th, marks the end of Mt. Fuji's official climbing season. August 27th is the day of the "Susuki Festival", which uses the "susuki" grass to symbolize the beginning of autumn. Both of these days include activities at Fujiyoshida's main Shinto shrine, called "Fuji Sengen Jinja", located on highway 138 in Kamiyoshida.

Day One: Joyful Descent into the Inferno

The goddess, in her carriage, is carried into the streets, followed by an "omikoshi" made to look like an orange Mt. Fuji, and two "mini-mikoshi" being supported by children. This unlikely, semi-hazardous parade takes the goddess down Honcho-street, and ends at the Kamiyoshida Community Center. As the goddess travels, she looks out to see Honcho-street lined with people, food vendors, and dozens of 9 foot tall wooden structures that look like elongated ice-cream cones.

Once these and many smaller fires are lit, the sight of the flaming city will so impress the goddess that she will be satisfied to contain the eruption of Mt. Fuji for one more year. We hope. In the meantime, the revelers at the Fujiyoshida Fire Festival are free to eat squid on a stick, drink cold beer, and dance around in the smoke, sparks, and falling ash.

Day Two: The Goddess Returns Amidst the Rustle of Autumn Grass.

On August 27th, the city awakes to find that autumn has begun, and that the smoke-tinged air seems slightly cooler. Residents inspect their clothes for burn marks, remove shoes made of grass from tired feet, and turn their attention towards Fuji-san, which will be as dormant as ever. We hope. The goddess, however, wakes up in a new place, a concrete community center, and must be returned.

Read the full account HERE !


© PHOTO Yamanashi Prefecture Tourist Association

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fire festival -
an orange Fuji floats
through town

Gabi Greve, 1985

Related words

***** Fire Festivals (hi matsuri)



Demons Away



Demons Away ! Tsuina shiki

***** Location: Japan/Kobe city
***** Season: Winter / New Year
***** Category: Observance


There are two famous ceremonies involving a BABA ONI 婆婆鬼, an old witch.
An old woman is usually called : oni baba, 鬼婆.

One ceremony is held every year on Januaray 7 at the temple Daisen-Ji 太山寺 in Kobe City.
Here Elder Taro Demon 太郎鬼, Younger Jiro Demon 次郎鬼 and Grandmother Demon, Baba Oni 婆々鬼.

神戸・太山寺の追儺式(鬼追い 修正会)

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At the temple Kinkoo-Ji 近江寺 the festival is held on February 11, as a Shuuni-E 修正会 ceremony for the new year.

A red and a blue demon and one old witch, baba oni.
Red Demon is an incarnation of Bishamon-Ten.
Blue Demon is an incarnation of Fudo Myo-O.

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The Three Masks
左から太郎、次郎 婆々鬼の面

Baba oni is on the right.

© PHOTO Hyogo Pref. Museum of History


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枯れすすき むかし婆婆鬼 あったとさ
kare susuki mukashi baba oni atta to sa

withered grassland--
once upon a time there was
a female demon...

Tr. David Lanoue

... ... ...

kare-suzuki mukashi oni-baba atta to sa

Withered pampas grass:
"Well, once upon a time,
an old witch there was..."

Version by Harold Henderson

The withered fields--
"Once upon a time, deep in the forest,
lived an old witch..."

Version by Robert Hass

(Gabi: The deep forest is not mentioned in the original Haiku by Issa.)

Hass comments:

"THE WITHERED FIELDS: The phrase is 'kareno', and it's often translated 'withered moor' because it implies uncultivated land. It's a fall-winter seasonal phrase and Issa is playing with it here. Its associations are equivalent to the beginning of a ghost story."

Compiled by Larry Bole
Translating Haiku

The "old witch" mentioned by Issa might have been his own stepmother. He had married the young Kiku in 1814. She developed a good connection to the stepmother and the two became very friendly.

His cynical mind is expressed in this phrase, [atta to sa]
He wants to say
[You, step mother! you have been unkind for a long time !]

Nakamura Sakuo

Related words

***** Hungry Ghosts and Haiku