JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - AICHI 愛知県
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The bottom of the woman figurine. Naughty, naughty...3712 views
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Procession maidens pose with wooden penises.3617 views
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Procession maidens pose with wooden penises. Tagata Shrine Honen Festival3241 views
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Wood carvings. Also see the video at YouTube.2754 views
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Sake flask2517 views
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Old wooden phallus offered at Okunomiya Hall. More photos of Tagata Shrine here.2505 views
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Lollipops2328 views
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The phallus is a symbol for themes of fertility.2211 views
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2031 views
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Nose job2028 viewsI didn't see this among the souvenirs being sold. Wonder where he got it.
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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.1915 views
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1892 views
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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.1712 views
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Senbei crackers1646 views
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1562 views
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Demure-looking woman figurine looks deceiving until you look at the bottom...1558 views
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1535 views
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People line up to rub the sacred balls. Penis rock in the foreground.1516 views
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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.1512 views
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Banner with ukiyoe shunga-style painting of a penis.1361 views
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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.1341 views
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Palanquin maidens.1304 views
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Gozensai ceremony before the start of the penis procession. Tagata Shrine Honen Matsuri1232 views
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Toshi-gami deity of harvests.1217 views
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Gozensai prayer ceremony before the start of the procession.1190 views
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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1138 views
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Way to Tagata Shrine from Tagata Jinja-mae Station. Shrine famous for numerous phallic objects used as offerings to the gods. The 1500-year-old shrine worships a deity called Tamahime-no-Mikoto who was a daughter of a powerful local lord from the 5th c.1131 viewsThe Honen-sai or Honen (Hounen) Matsuri is held by Tagata Jinja on March 15 to pray for an abundant harvest. "Honen" literally means "Year of abudant harvest." Since a giant penis is used as an offering, it is popularly called the "penis festival."

The shrine is near Tagata Jinja-mae Station on the Meitetsu Railways' Komaki Line. From Shin-Nagoya Station or Shin-Gifu Station, go to Inuyama Station and transfer to the Komaki Line.
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Pregnant women also attend the festival. As well as mothers with a young baby coming to give thanks.1115 views
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1106 views
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The usual penis souvenirs on sale.1004 views
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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.997 views
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Various entertainment is staged within Tagata Shrine up until the procession starts at 2 pm.983 views
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Breaking the sake barrel969 views
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Another mikoshi with a wooden penis. For a good harvest.956 views
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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955 views
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The short prayer ceremony ends.947 views
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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.944 views
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Lots of people pose with the giant penis. Amid hordes of amateur photographers939 views
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Women spectators touch the penis for good fortune and to become fertile perhaps?924 views
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Also see the video at YouTube. Honen-sai Festival, Tagata Shrine Honen Festival.895 views
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Conch shell878 views
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Inside Kumano Shrine. Notice the wooden penises on lower left.868 views
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Sake865 views
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Festival spectators come by the busload, including people from US military bases such as Yokota.846 views
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Gozensai ceremony before the start of the procession.846 views
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Torii gate to Kumano-sha Shrine.803 views
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Ema votive tablet with giant penis portable shrine. 500 yen.795 views
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Mikoshi (portable shrine) bearers gather in front of Kumano Shrine.787 views
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Kumano-sha Shrine, the starting point of the procession or "Penis Parade." 熊野社784 views
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami, the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) from heaven to earth.784 views
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto who was a local prince married to Tamahime which Tagata Shrine worships.752 views
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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.746 views
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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.738 views
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Sake flows freely.729 views
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Takeinadane-no-Mikoto706 views1 comments
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Musical clock703 views
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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).696 views
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Maidens who are 36 years old, carry wooden penises for protection during their "unlucky age" (yakudoshi).636 views
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People waiting for the procession along the shrine steps. (Not a good place to watch the procession.)633 views
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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.).631 views
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Men in happi coats which read "Honen Matsuri." Honen literally means "year of abundant harvest."608 views
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People waiting for the procession in front of Kumano Shrine.588 views
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The procession is ready to start from Kumano Shrine.587 views
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This is what you see inside Oku-no-miya Shrine. A giant wooden phallus offering.579 views
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Now comes the giant phallus heading for the shrine's main hall.562 views
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Reconstructed in 1959 in ferro-concrete, Nagoya Castle's main tenshu tower has closed on May 6, 2018 to start its monumental reconstruction. 天守閣548 viewsThis main tower used to house a museum. The top floor had a lookout deck with fine views.
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami, the deity who led the descent of Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) from heaven to earth.535 views
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The procession goers down the slope in front of Kumano Shrine.529 views
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Symbol of Nagoya, golden shachihoko. Killer whale or fish with a tiger's head.519 viewsFirst believed to protect the building from disasters, but later served as the symbol of the castle lord's authority. The original pair was destroyed along with the castle tower during WWII, but they were remade in 1959 along with the castle tower. Later, they were recoated with gold. They gleam very well on sunny days. The male fish is on the right (north), and female (south) on the left.
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People waiting for the procession in front of Kumano Shrine.515 views
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Banner of shunga-style penis painting.512 views
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Okazaki Castle tower509 viewsThe castle was dismantled during the Meiji Period and the area was made into a castle park. The castle tower was later rebuilt in 1959.
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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.509 views
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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.503 views
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Konomiya Hadaka Festival, Inazawa, Aichi Pref.497 views
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Tagata Shrine Honen-sai Festival. Also see the video at YouTube.489 views
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Ichinomiya Station has both the JR Tokaido Line and Meitetsu Line. Ichinomiya literally means "Shrine No. 1."489 views
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Toshi-gami deity of harvests is pulled on a palanquin instead of being carried.481 views
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A group of men carry a red and white pole in front of Inazawa Station, on their way to Konomiya Shrine.477 views
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Palanquin for Deity of Harvests469 views
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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.466 views
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Takeinadane-no-Mikoto463 views
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Installed inside the shrine's Honden main hall, the new giant penis will replace the old one.453 views
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Carried by men singing kiyari laborers' songs, the smaller wooden phallus also goes to enter the shrine's main hall.450 views
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Apparently it can become erect too. (Compare with previous photo.)450 views
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Next is a palanquin (not mikoshi) for the Toshi-gami deity of harvests. 御歳神439 views
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Where the penis goes, the crowd follows.435 views
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By this time, all the men are filled with sake and gregarious.433 views
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Giant phallus makes its way to the shrine.433 views
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Gaijin girls had an easy time attracting men who happily tried to converse in English and bestow cloth strips.419 views
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Also see the video at YouTube.413 views
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Penetration successful. This is 3:30 pm.409 views
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Sarutahiko-no-Okami407 views
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They spin around the phallus.405 views
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The standard-bearer with a banner of shunga-style penis painting.402 views
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Not sure what this is.393 views
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto392 views
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Yoshida Castle turret390 views
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Salt sprinkler heads the procession to purify the way.388 views
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The route is short, but it's a slow procession with many short breaks. The procession lasts 1.5 hours.385 views
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Branches of the sacred sakaki tree.381 views
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Sake cart380 views
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Drum380 views
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The first half of the route is quite narrow.373 views
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Inuyama Castle tower365 views
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My video of Masumida Shrine on New Year's Day 2011, Ichinomiya, Aichi.364 views
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Near the station is Nagoya City Hall (Shiyakusho) which also sports a castle motif.354 views
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Raising a pole in front of Inazawa Station352 views
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351 views
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Votice tablets written with people's wishes for love, sex, and babies.351 views
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I always visit a different shrine on New Year's Day, so for 2009, I visited Atsuta Jingu Shrine in Nagoya. JR Atsuta Station on the Tokaido Line is one train station near Atsuta Jingu Shrine. JR熱田駅351 views
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The giant penis also arrives at the shrine as it spins around behind the349 views
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Tagata Shrine grounds during the Honen Festival.347 views
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Kiso River with Inuyama Castle in the distance344 views
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Finally on the main road to Tagata Shrine. Half the road is blocked off for the procession.344 views
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Tagata Jinja banners.344 views
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Inuyama Castle roof342 views
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It was a pretty cold day, and these men were drinking all afternoon.341 views
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Nagoya Castle, Northwest corner turret. 西北隅櫓340 views
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto335 views
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On the main road.334 views
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Konomiya Shrine holds the Hadaka (Naked or Nude) Festival in early March, or Jan. 13 of the lunar calendar. Men in loincloths parade around the streets until they reach the shrine.333 viewsA Sacred Man (Shin-otoko) also appears in the shrine and the men try to touch him before he slips into the shrine's window. The festival's real name is Naoi-shinji 儺追神事 which is a rite to dispel bad luck. Photo: Nearest station is JR Inazawa Station on the Tokaido Line. 稲沢駅
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Torii on Takeshima island330 views
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Entrance to Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.329 views
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Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.328 views
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The giant phallus in front Tagata Shrine's Honden main hall.326 views
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Jo-an tea ceremony house, a National Treasure. Built in 1618 by Oda Uraku, one of the greatest tea ceremony masters and younger brother of warlord Oda Nobunaga.325 viewsJo-an is one of Japan's three most famous tea ceremony houses. 如庵
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Inside Jo-an tea ceremony house, a National Treasure321 views
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On the 5th floor was a model of shachihoko that you could touch and sit on for pictures.321 viewsNagoya Castle's main tower closed on May 6, 2018 to be dismantled (and reconstructed).
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Sometimes a man from the window jumps into the crowd to grab and take in the Sacred Man.320 views
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Closeup of castle tower, with shachihoko on top. Nagoya Castle is famous for its golden pair of shachihoko roof ornaments. During the Aichi Expo in 2005, they were taken down for public display. 天守閣319 views
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Salt sprinkler enters first.319 views
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They zig-zag along the street, and they are filled with sake.317 views
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Tagata Shrine crowded with people waiting for the procession to arrive.313 views
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Portable shrine for Takeinadane-no-Mikoto enters the Honden main hall.313 views
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TV reporter with this year's Sacred Man (Kami-otoko), Kato Norihiko 神男:加藤 典彦309 views
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Inuyama International Sightseeing Center "Freude"304 views
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302 views
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Oku-no-miya Shrine also has many other phallic objects presented as offerings. There even one which you can touch...300 views
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Best-looking phallic rock.300 views
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View of Kiso River297 views
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Kiyomasa depicted as the rock hauling director. When building the castle, many men had to push and pull large rocks into place. On top of a large boulder, a man would shout and direct the men to move.296 views
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Takeshima island296 views
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Maybe this is the Sacred Man being pulled into the window.292 views
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Gaijin talking to gaijin. Sounded Australian. English teacher at junior high.291 views
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Oagata Shrine's Female Rock. 女性器をかたどった石291 views
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Pointer to Expo shuttle train at Nagoya Station.285 views
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TV reporter with this year's Sacred Man (Kami-otoko), Kato Norihiko, from Ichinomiya 神男:加藤 典彦284 views
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Phallic fence posts.283 views
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Haritsuna Shrine280 views
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Sanko Inari Shrine279 viewsThe shrine provides a short cut to the castle.
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Inside tea ceremony house275 views
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Kiyosu Castle, Aichi Prefecture. Oda Nobunaga moved to Kiyosu Castle from Nagoya Castle in 1555. From Kiyosu Castle, he went to defeat the Imagawa at the Battle of Okehazama.264 views
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Tagata Shrine Honden main hall. Komaki, Aichi Pref.258 views
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Phallic souvenirs.257 views
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Inside castle tower253 viewsThe castle tower is a history museum.
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They get pretty crazy, getting more water.253 views
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Cloth strips (100 yen each) to ward off bad luck 厄除けの ”なおいぎれ” 初穂料 1本 100円251 views
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Every once in a while, they raise their pole.248 views
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Tagata Jinja-mae Station on Meitetsu Railways' Komaki Line, a few stops from Inuyama Station. The shrine is a 10 min. walk from the train station.243 views
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Raising a pole in front of Inazawa Station241 views
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The Sacred Man struggles to reach the small window.241 views
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Phallic objects241 views
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Kiyosu Castle's 2nd floor includes this mannequin setup showing Oda Nobunaga and his cohorts.241 views
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Note that the phallus is not the object of worship. It is an offering to the god.239 views
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Worst-looking phallic rock. That's stretching the imagination a little too much.239 views
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Gift shop on top floor236 views
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234 views
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Closeup of giant mochi. Solid as a rock.234 views
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Entrance to Urakuen Garden233 viewsThis garden has a few tea houses including one called Jo-an, a National Treasure. THe garden is close to Inuyama Castle and worth a visit. Admission 1,000 yen.

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休日 無休   入場料 大人1,000円(呈茶別500円)
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TEL 0568(61)4608
交通 名鉄犬山線犬山遊園下車徒歩7分
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Numerous groups of near-naked men (no women) proceed to the shrine all afternoon.232 views
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On the straight road from Inazawa Station to Konomiya Shrine.231 views
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Female and male rocks.229 views
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Nagoya Station's twin towers in the distance.228 views
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Southeast corner turret (Important Cultural Property)226 views東南隅櫓
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When the Sacred Man enters the window, everyone cheers.224 views
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My bowl of matcha green tea. After we consumed the tea, we just left. The shrines also has many other buildings, but it was too crowded for me to see them all this day. I was too tired walk around more.223 views
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Some of the men tear off strips from their handband and give them to bystanders.221 views
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Tree surrounded with cloth strips called Naoi-gire221 views
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The shrine maidens came around to serve the tea and sweet.221 views
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Stones and Oku-no-miya Shrine220 views
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Put in money and it will make a "chin" sound. (From the word "chinpo" for penis.)217 views
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Honen Matsuri Festival banner disguising the female organ.216 views
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Female Rock216 views
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Bridge to Takeshima island215 views
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Giant kagami mochi, rice cake in the Haiden Hall. Over 2 meters tall and over 2 meters diameter. Weighs 4 tons. They are to be cut into small pieces (with a chain saw) and given away the next morning.215 views
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As you walk toward the castle entrance, you see this Sotobori outer moat.212 views
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Monkeys210 views
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Oagata Shrine's Female Rock. Not a good likeness...「姫石」(陰石)209 views
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This photo was taken in 2006, showing an empty lot where the Hommaru Goten Palace is being reconstructed now.208 views
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The men in the window give directions to the Sacred Man.207 views
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Oku-no-miya Shrine. Look carefully and you can see what's inside. 奥宮206 views
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Phallic rock. There are several phallic rocks donated by various people. Apparently they are either natural or carved.206 views
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Kiyosu Castle tower and rock garden. 300 yen admission for the castle tower. Open 9 am to 4:30 pm. Closed Mon. (open if a national holiday).206 views
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The festival is over.205 views
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Southeast corner turret (Important Cultural Property). Also called the Tatsumi Yagura turret. It has bay windows to drop stones. 辰巳櫓 東南隅櫓204 views
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Konomiya Shrine torii and the long path to the shrine is lined with a large crowd.203 views
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Honen Matsuri Festival banner depicting Hime-no-miya202 views
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All the men want to touch the Sacred Man, believing that it will dispel bad luck.201 views
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Kiyosu Castle201 views
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Place to rub the sacred balls. 珍宝窟199 views
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Votice tablet with illustration of the Honen Festival.199 views
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Boat to Rabbit and Monkey islands (no longer in service)198 views
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This is the small window the Sacred Man has to enter. It has a sprinkler system.197 views
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More female rocks.197 views
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The inner path to the shrine gets more crowded.196 views
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「姫石」(陰石)196 views
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Picture taken in 2006. 天守閣195 views
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Zig-zag to the shrine195 views
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My bicycle somewhere in Gamagori.193 views
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Northwest corner turret. 西北隅櫓191 views
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Wisteria191 views
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The window where the Sacred Man entered.191 views
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JR Kiyosu Station platform. Note that only the local (kaku-eki) trains stop at Kiyosu Station. The kaisoku express trains don't stop at Kiyosu.191 views
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Rub the two balls.190 views
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Tagata Shrine banners. Also see Honen Festival photos here.190 views
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Road to Inuyama Castle189 views
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Inuyama Castle189 viewsNational Treasure
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Dry moat on east side of castle.189 views
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All the men look in the direction of the Sacred Man.188 views
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They are waiting for the Sacred Man.185 views
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Giant mochi inside the Haiden hall. 大鏡餅奉納185 views
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A sweet confection to eat with the matcha tea.185 views
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JR Gamagori Station. In the foreground is my bicycle.184 views
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Haiden Hall where the men offer their long poles. 拝殿184 views
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183 views
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Road to Ooagata (Oagata) Shrine, famous for worshipping a rock shaped like the female sexual organ. It also holds the Honen Matsuri for a good harvest and fertility on the Sunday before March 15. 大県神社182 viewsThe shrine is the female counterpart to Tagata Shrine which worships the phallus in neighboring Komaki. The shrine is also noted for weeping plum blossoms.
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Rabbit Island181 views
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