Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Plethora of Phalli


There are literally thousands of ceramic votive phalli at Mara Kannon Shrine in Tawarayama, a small onsen town in the mountains of northern Yamaguchi Prefecture.


Mara is crude slang for the male member, and Kannon is the Buddhist goddess of mercy but now a torii stands in front so it is classifies as a shrine.


The phalli are left by people who are praying to have a child, so it is known as a fertility shrine now, but it has a rather macabre origin which I will explain in a later post.....


Fertility shrines are a pet interest of mine and though the vast majority of them disappeared in the early Meiji Period there are still quite a few hidden away in the backwaters of rural Japan...



  1. I would rather have great sex till the end of my life than children ;-)
    is there a possibility for such votive? ;-)

  2. I found your blog and post through and this is awesome! :)

  3. On a trip to Japan a few years ago I stumbled across a small shrine in the Tono valey region, no mara but what looked like an Indian Lingam instead. A local told me it was a place for women only, who wanted to get pregnant.If I can find a photo I'll let you know, never seen anything like it anywhere else in Japan.