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Way to Tagata Shrine from Tagata Jinja-mae Station.
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Festival spectators come by the busload, including people from US military bases such as Yokota.
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Entering Tagata Shrine, dedicated to Tamahime-no-Mikoto (daughter of a local feudal lord) and Mitoshi-no-Kami (deity of harvests).
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Various entertainment is staged within Tagata Shrine up until the procession starts at 2 pm.
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Schedule of events and procession route. In odd-numbered years (like 2007), the procession starts from nearby Kumano-sha Shrine. In even-numbered years, the procession starts from Shinmei-sha Shrine.
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People line up to rub the sacred balls. Penis rock in the foreground.
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Sacred Balls. Put in money and rub the left and right ball for family safety, business prosperity, safe childbirth, etc. 珍宝窟
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Old wooden phallus offered at Okunomiya Hall. More photos of Tagata Shrine here.
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Torii gate to Kumano-sha Shrine.
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Kumano-sha Shrine, the starting point of the procession or "Penis Parade." 熊野社
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Inside Kumano Shrine. Notice the wooden penises on lower left.
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto who was a local prince married to Tamahime which Tagata Shrine worships.
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The second portable shrine and main attraction. It is 2.5 meters (13 feet) long, 60 cm diameter, and weighs about 300 kg. It takes 10 days to carve it from a cypress log.
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Front view. A new giant, wooden phallus is carved every year since newly-made objects are considered to have more purity and vitality.
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It might look light brown here, but it looks more pinkish. It is carved in winter from a hinoki cypress tree by a master artisan wearing ceremonially-purified clothing and using traditional tools.
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Maiden poses with the giant penis. In the past, the phallus was attached to a straw effigy of a warrior, but it was deemed too raunchy and discontinued.
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Conch shell
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Banner with ukiyoe shunga-style painting of a penis.
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Another mikoshi with a wooden penis. For a good harvest.
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Nose jobI didn't see this among the souvenirs being sold. Wonder where he got it.
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Procession maidens pose with wooden penises. Tagata Shrine Honen Festival
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Procession maidens pose with wooden penises.
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Lots of people pose with the giant penis. Amid hordes of amateur photographers
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Many foreigners also join in the fun. The giant phallus was originally about 1 meter long and paraded by itself by 4-5 people with no portable shrine shelter.
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Procession maidens pose with the giant penis. The giant phallus was then partially hidden by the portable shrine as it is today. But this made the phallus become larger to 2.5 meters, as if to compensate for this partial shielding.
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Palanquin maidens.
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Gozensai ceremony before the start of the procession.
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Gozensai prayer ceremony before the start of the procession.
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Gozensai ceremony before the start of the penis procession. Tagata Shrine Honen Matsuri
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The short prayer ceremony ends.
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Mikoshi (portable shrine) bearers gather in front of Kumano Shrine.
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Sake
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Breaking the sake barrel
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Sake flows freely.
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People waiting for the procession along the shrine steps. (Not a good place to watch the procession.)
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People waiting for the procession in front of Kumano Shrine.
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Men in happi coats which read "Honen Matsuri." Honen literally means "year of abundant harvest."
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The procession is ready to start from Kumano Shrine.
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People waiting for the procession in front of Kumano Shrine.
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami, the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) from heaven to earth.
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The procession goers down the slope in front of Kumano Shrine.
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The first mikoshi is for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto coming to visit his wife of Tamahime at Tagata Shrine, where Tamahime's residence was located.
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Takeinadane-no-Mikoto
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The second mikoshi features the giant penis carried by 12 men at a time, all of whom are age 42, considered to be an unlucky age (yakudoshi) for men. They seek protection by carrying the phallus.
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The giant phallus by itself weighs about 280 kg (620 lbs.). The total weight of both the phallus and portable shrine housing is 400 kg (885 lbs.).
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The giant phallus is called "O-owasegata." It is an offering, and not a deity nor object of worship. Tagata Shrine Honen Festival. A total of 60 men take turns carrying the giant phallus portable shrine. 大男茎形
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Next is a palanquin (not mikoshi) for the Toshi-gami deity of harvests. 御歳神
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Toshi-gami deity of harvests is pulled on a palanquin instead of being carried.
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Toshi-gami deity of harvests.
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Where the penis goes, the crowd follows.
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Also see the video at YouTube. Honen-sai Festival, Tagata Shrine Honen Festival.
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They spin around the phallus.
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Maidens who are 36 years old, carry wooden penises for protection during their "unlucky age" (yakudoshi).
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto
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The route is short, but it's a slow procession with many short breaks. The procession lasts 1.5 hours.
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Takeinadane-no-Mikoto1 comments
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The first half of the route is quite narrow.
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Sake cart
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Salt sprinkler heads the procession to purify the way.
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami, the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) from heaven to earth.
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Branches of the sacred sakaki tree.
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Not sure what this is.
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Drum
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Finally on the main road to Tagata Shrine. Half the road is blocked off for the procession.
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On the main road.
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Tagata Shrine Honen-sai Festival. Also see the video at YouTube.
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By this time, all the men are filled with sake and gregarious.
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Entrance to Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.
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Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.
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Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.
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Salt sprinkler enters first.
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami
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The standard-bearer with a banner of shunga-style penis painting.
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Banner of shunga-style penis painting.
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Women spectators touch the penis for good fortune and to become fertile perhaps?
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The phallus is a symbol for themes of fertility.
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Palanquin for Deity of Harvests
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The giant penis also arrives at the shrine as it spins around behind the
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Giant phallus makes its way to the shrine.
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The giant phallus in front Tagata Shrine's Honden main hall.
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto enters the Honden main hall.
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Now comes the giant phallus heading for the shrine's main hall.
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Also see the video at YouTube.
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Penetration successful. This is 3:30 pm.
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Carried by men singing kiyari laborers' songs, the smaller wooden phallus also goes to enter the shrine's main hall.
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Installed inside the shrine's Honden main hall, the new giant penis will replace the old one.
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Tagata Shrine grounds during the Honen Festival.
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Tagata Jinja banners.
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Ema votive tablet with giant penis portable shrine. 500 yen.
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At 4 pm, the festival's final event is the mochi-nage or rice-cake tossing. First, they warn eveyone that the shrine won't be liable for any injury you might incur from this. And the elderly and children should avoid this mochi-nage.
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A large crowd tries to catch numerous mochi which are hard and can be dangerous if it hits you on the face or head. To avoid injury, do not look down and don't try to pick up mochi on the ground. You can get trampled, and most injuries occur this way.
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Pregnant women also attend the festival. As well as mothers with a young baby coming to give thanks.
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The usual penis souvenirs on sale.
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Sake flask
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Demure-looking woman figurine looks deceiving until you look at the bottom...
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The bottom of the woman figurine. Naughty, naughty...
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Senbei crackers
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Lollipops
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Wood carvings. Also see the video at YouTube.
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