While Jeremy was making dinner on Valentine’s day, I was researching the fertility festival. During my research I found out there was a very interesting shrine in Yamaguchi Prefecture (the prefecture we live in). It is a phallic shrine. Welcome to Japan… Where the weird just gets weirder.We decided that we had to go see it. So we went the very next day.
Since the shrine was over three hours away one way, this would technically be our first road trip together in Japan. We were really excited because it suddenly started snowing shortly after we started driving out there. We passed some beautiful scenery.
Along the way we stopped off at a Lawson’s (similar to a 7-11) for refreshments. Jeremy found season one of The Flash and Green Arrow. I found chicken nuggets stuffed with cheese. They were delicious.
The hard part of our trip was that when we left Iwakuni, we didn’t really have an address for the shrine. I had learn that it was called Mara Kannon Shrine in Nagato. So we figured we would drive in the direction of Nagato and see if we could find. Worse case scenario, we would stop and ask for directions when we got to Nagato. We stopped at what appeared to be a visitor center in Hagi. It was really interesting because of all the samurai statues. I would like to learn more about Hagi and the significance of the statues at some point.
I was so happy when we were leaving the visitor center because while trying to google Mara Kannon Shrine again IT SUDDENLY POPPED UP WITH A PIN!!! Turns out we were only 20 minutes away!! I was so happy it would be easy to find it.
Yes. We had finally found the Penis Shrine. Surrounding the shrine are various wooden and stone carved penii. Some were just basic carvings and some were very detailed.
We walked around the outside first trying to figure out what this was all for. We found a locked cage full of ceramic penii.
Finally we walked inside the shrine. At this point I was really wishing I had a Japanese friend to explain what the heck we were looking at. I still don’t know what most of the stuff was for.
While looking around inside we found a piece of paper that instantly turned this kind of creepy.
“ORIGIN OF THE MARAKANNON
September 1, 1551
Mr. Yoshitaka Ochuchi of the
Chugoku district was attacked and
he killed himself at tainenji of
Yamato hot spring.
After the two days his eldest son was
caught and murdered.
His grave is in Kamianda.
His youngest child was dressed as a
woman but was caught and murdered
People of this village was feeling
pity for them. They build shrine and
comforted of souls of them.
Here is always crowding with people
they prays for the properity of descendant”
So this shrine with penii everywhere was built as a memorial for a father who committed suicide and the murder of his two sons… I’m still torn with how I feel about this.
While finding that paper sombered our adventure a bit, our day wasn’t over yet but I am going to save that for tomorrow.
This is the most I have ever written about genitalia…
By the way we did get some souvenirs…