The Hodare Festival is one of the unique festivals in Japan. It is held annually at Shimoraiden, Niigata, Japan during the second Sunday of March.
In English, Hodare means male genitals or penis. However, when Hodare is used as a character, the meaning is different. It means the ripening of rice plants.
Originally, the primary symbol of the Hodare festival is a wooden penis with 2.2 meters in length and weighing 600 kg.
What Does Hodare Symbolizes For?
Similar Festivals In Japan
Here are other similar penis festivals in Japan celebrated in different cities across Japan.
1. Kanamara Matsuri
The Kanamara festival takes place in Kawasaki Daishi, Kawasaki city. Unlike the wooden penis in Hodare, Kanamara Matsuri means Festival of the Steel Penis.
It is named after Kanamara Sama or The Lord of Iron. It is a Shinto fertility where there is no exact date but normally falls during Sunday.
2. Hounen Matsuri
The Hounen Matsuri is another fertility festival. The Japanese celebrate it annually on the 15th of March.
Although the Hodare Matsuri is the biggest, the Hounen Matsuri fertility festival is said to be the most popular. The celebration takes place in Komaki situated in the north city of Nagoya.
In English translation, the word Hounen means rich harvest, and matsuri means festival.
Hence, Hounen Matsuri means a festival celebrating the bountiful blessings and all modes of prosperity. Of course, this includes fertility.
Aside from the wooden penis measuring 2.5 meters and weighing 280 kg, the Shinto priests are the festival’s main attraction. The priests play musical instruments wearing ceremonial dresses.
The wooden penis takes it route from Shinmei Sha shrine to Tagata Jinja.
Hounen Matsuri starts its celebration and preparation in Tagata Jinja at 10 in the morning. Durin this time, a wide variety of penis-shaped souvenirs and foods are sold.
The next time you’re planning to visit Japan, make sure you do it during spring time. This is one of the unique festivities, and you don’t want to miss it.
There are many festivals around the globe unique to certain cultures. Certainly, the penis festivals in Japan are unique to the Japanese culture.
On the other hand, if you’re uncomfortable with these types of festivities, Japan has more to offer. During spring, Japan celebrates the cherry blossom festival.
Perhaps, this one you don’t want to miss when you’re in Japan this spring. To have a good glimpse of it, check this video.