The 2010 Tagata Jinja Fertility Festival takes places on March 15 and is one of Japan's most celebrated "Phallic Festivals". Fifteen years ago there were a few hundred bemused spectators watching the procession and the whole event was very much a subdued local affair.
Nowadays a vast, boisterous crowd of both Japanese and foreign visitors watch the 2.5m, newly-carved 300kg wooden phallus being carried on a mikoshi (portable shrine), by teams of 12 men, the 1.5km between Kumano Shrine and Tagata Shrine near Inuyama, just outside Nagoya.
The procession reaches Tagata Shrine about 4pm for the literal climax of the day's events. A small portable shrine carries a wooden representation of Takeinadene-no-mikoto, the male deity visiting his female counterpart (and wife) Tamahime-no-mikoto, who is enshrined at Tagata Jinja. Next comes the huge phallus which is placed in the shrine for another year, the old phallus being sold off.
To get to Tagata Jinja take a Meitetsu train from Nagoya Station or Kanayama Station to Inuyama. Change to a Meitetsu Komaki Line train leaving from platform 3 and go threee stops to Tagata Jinja Mae. Turn left out of the station and then left again at the main road. Tagata Jinja is about 400m on your right. To reach Kumano Shrine turn right out of Tagata Jinja, cross over the main road and Kumano Jinja is on your left as you climb the hill after crossing over the railway line.
Alternatively take the Tsurumai Subway Line to Kami Otai and change to a Meitetsu Line train to Inuyama and then the Komaki Line to Tagata Jinja Mae.
Ogata Shrine (Tel: 0568 67 1017) is a ten minute walk, turning right out of Gakuden Station on the Meitetsu Komaki Line.
Festival Happi coats
Japan Tagata Jinja Inuyama Phallus Shrine Nagoya Japan Festival Aichi