Penises, balls, meat and bubbles in Komaki

Someone named Aaron left a comment on my blog about Hounen Matsuri at Tagata Jinja in Komaki. He used to live near here and he told me that it would be a nice cultural event to experience before I leave Inuyama and something interesting to blog about. I had no idea what he was talking about and looked it up online. I found out he was talking about a fertility festival at an actual penis shrine in Komaki. And apparently they lug around a huge wooden penis through Komaki with Oogata Jinja as its final destination, which is a vagina shrine! Seeing pictures of normally so polite and proper Japanese people praying to a huge phallus and taking it so seriously was a bit disturbing but mostly a lot amusing to my Western sensibilities.

Tagata Jinja in Komaki

Unfortunately the festival is always on March 15th, and this year that was on a Saturday, so I had to work. But yesterday was a national holiday, to celebrate spring or something, so I had the day off. And Maiko and I went to this Tagata Jinja in Komaki to check out this unbelievable (to me anyway) penis shrine. When we arrived it looked like a normal place of worship, like any other I’d seen in Japan so far. But a closer look inside the first shrine, revealed two huge penises. And the further we ventured upon the shrine’s premises the more penises we discovered, small and big, made of wood, stone or marble, natural or carved, brown or black, sprawled about or properly displayed. My favorites were the big penis bell and the tiny penis with huge marble balls (which you’re supposed to rub for safety and prosperity) which says ‘ching’ (ching ching is Japanese for penis) when you insert a coin. It was a very interesting shrine, to say the least, thanks for the tip Aaron!

‘Oooh, look at that huge….’

‘Aah, it’s way too big!’

‘Come to mama!’

Maiko demonstrating the talking penis

Wall of wishes for healthy babies or cute girlfriends

We were also supposed to pay a visit to the nearby vagina shrine, but after all the penis sighting, Maiko got really hungry so we decided to have some lunch first. There was a Japanese steakhouse across the street from Tagata Jinja, where we had an extensive, cheap and delicious lunch. Unfortunately, lunch took so long that we ran out of time and we didn’t make it to Oogata Jinja. Maybe another time, penises are more interesting to us anyway.

Orange smile at Bronco Billy’s

Why were we in a hurry, because we were supposed to meet Maiko’s friend Pon at Komaki station. Apparently, he’s very interested in foreigners and when he found out that Maiko had a Dutch friend, he wanted to tag along on our next outing. After picking him up at the station we headed straight for Shidax for a couple of hours of cheap and quality karaoke. We weren’t the only ones with that plan and we were told to wait for about 50 minutes, one really needs to be patient in Japan. The first time I went to Shidax with Kumiko we also had to wait for 40 minutes, but what had come after that had been totally worth it. And I hadn’t sang karaoke for a long time, and I really needed a fix, so we waited, for a long time.

Pon and Maiko in the Shidax lobby

Obviously, we weren’t the only people waiting for a karaoke room, and there were also a couple of small kids waiting with their mommies. One the mommies brought entertainment for her daughters in the form of thin plastic tubes (like really tough and short straws) and a tube of glue. She would put a small amount of glue on one end of a plastic tube and then gently blow into the other end, effectively blowing a beautiful plastic bubble. At first, I thought she was blowing bubbles with a regular bubble blowing wand and some soapy bubble mixture, because that’s exactly what the bubbles looked like, those shiny soapy bubbles that snap as soon as you touch them. But these bubbles behaved in a very different way, they were much more like balloons, just weaker. After the kids played with such a bubble for a minute or two, it would start to deflate. I was totally fascinated! And the kids were fascinated by some strange foreigner ogling their bubbles. After they were summoned by the Shidax staff to go to their karaoke room, these nice kids donated some bubbles to us so that we could play with them too!

Big kids playing with a bubble

After our bubbles died we waited some more until it was time for us to go to our own karaoke room for four hours of free time karaoke. Meaning you can sing as much as you want and drink as much water as you want until 8 PM for only 1100 yen (they’ve recently increased their prices with 10%, but it’s still cheap), which is exactly what we did. I knew another 9 hour Bon Jovi marathon is coming up this weekend at the same karaoke place, so I tried to sing as many non-Bon Jovi songs as I could. But it wasn’t very easy, so halfway I gave up on other artists and fell back to singing Bon Jovi, which I can actually do and is the most fun anyway. Maiko and Pon sang a lot of Japanese songs, and sometimes even performed a little dance:

Dinner was yakiniku somewhere in Komaki, which is the Korean version of BBQ with a grill in the middle of the table where you cook (or occasionally burn) your own meat and/or vegetables. The weirdest and least enjoyable meat I ate was some kind of animal’s tongue, and the most delicious meat I had were strips of pork. I really love meat, but it’s very pricey here. But yesterday I may have had more meat (first the steakhouse and then yakiniku) than I normally have in a whole week here in Japan, and it was cheap too!

Yakiniku in Komaki

It’s great to have a national holiday fall in the middle of your workweek, it gives you a nice break from all the hard work… Of course, I also had Tuesday off this week, so I’m only working three days this week, what a tough week!

More pictures


4 thoughts on “Penises, balls, meat and bubbles in Komaki

  1. Waren die bubbels nu van een soort soap of glue? Dat zal geplakt hebben maar wel heel leuk! Ach ja, kinderen heej, die gun je een fanta…;-)) XXXXXX DVK


  2. Hey that’s cool you made it out there… after the penis shrine the vagina shrine isn’t nearly as good. Looks like they still had the “Big One” sitting out… usually it is tucked back in the space under the penis bell. Did you get the email I sent you? Thought maybe you had but then were freaked out by the random guy from the internet telling you to go to the penis shrine… Was the steakhouse the Bronco Billy Steakhouse? And did they still have Lefty All Mighty beauty salon next door? Anyway, glad you enjoyed it.


  3. I didn’t see a beaty salon, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. Yes it was the Bronco Billy Steakhouse, great place! They had a similarly big one tucked back in that shrine with the bell this time too, but I don’t know why they have two. I enjoyed it a lot, thanks for the tip. I only wish they still sold some of those cool dick-shaped souvenirs, but maybe next time.


  4. Great ching ching video!!:)The glue bubble stuff is also sold in Italy, I have had many fun moments when I was young with these cool bubbles!The ‘meat’ meal looks great!!


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