Every year on 15 March in Komaki City, Aichi the Honen Matsuri (Harvest Festival) is held. Unlike other harvest festivals this one is to celebrate all forms bounty from crops to cash to family.
Also unlike other harvest festivals, this one has a 2.5m wooden phallus that gets paraded through the city during the afternoon. It’s called “Ooowasegata” (lit. big guy stem figure) and this year it drew a crowd of 190,000 spectators according to a Tagata Shrine announcement.
The one kilometer parade route was clogged with attendees from Jinmei Shrine, a popular temple for local men to shed bad luck, to Tagata Shrine where several of all sorts of male genitalia themed foods and souvenirs were available.
“This year’s Tagata Shrine Honen Matsuri is on 15 March. I wanted to go to the festival before moving… Choco-Banana…”
And so a massive roar or cheers and applause erupted as Ooowasegata appeared protruding from a mikoshi. A mikoshi is a small shrine (usually minus the penis) that is carried by several people through the streets during festive times such as this.
Chunichi Shimbun interviewed a 25-year-old American worker in Japan at the event named “Hill Clinton” (cute) who said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was fun. There’s nothing like it America.”
Indeed, some are reporting that the huge turn-out at this year’s Honen Matsuri was a result of it being such a rare type of festival in the world. However, for those who missed it this year, luckily it’s not a rare event in Japan. You could go here, or here, or you could check out this place year-round.
“Honen Matsuri is held today in Tagata Shrine, Komaki, Aichi. The object of worship at this shrine is in the form of a penis. A mikoshi with a large penis is paraded at this festival. This festival is famous around the world for being odd and rare.”