Perhaps you’ve already heard of the penis festivals of Japan. Perhaps not. Meet Konsei-sama, the honored god of Konsei Matsuri who stands erect at 1.4m and weighs a substantial 150kg. An eco-friendly deity carved from a single zelkova tree, he lives most of the year off the grid in a small shrine at the summit of Mount Okubo. In the spring, his devotees bring him down to the Osawa hot springs for his annual bath, and perhaps in compensation for this service, Konsei-sama lends his ultra-potency to women hoping to conceive.
Konsei Matsuri is an undeniably fun-loving festival that treats its phallus god with a healthy mix of genuine respect and tongue-in-cheek humor. Beginning with a performance by a trio of demons wielding phallus drumsticks, and coming to a climax with hopeful women mounting the god in the hot springs bath, Konsei Matsuri is a real crowd-pleaser. And the setting couldn’t be better. Between the cherry blossoms snowing from the trees and the old-style charm of Osawa Onsen’s thatch-roofed hotel, it really is a sight to behold.
Where: Osawa Onsen Hotel, Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture.
How to get there: From Hanamaki Station take the Fukuro-go (ふくろう号) bus and get off at the Osawa Onsen (大沢温泉) stop. It will take about 30 minutes. Buses leave hourly on the hour from 8 a.m. and cost 100 yen. Map here!
When: April 29, from around 2pm.
Contact: Osawa Onsen (in Japanese) 0198-25-2315.
Where to stay: If you’re going out to Osawa to see the festival, it would be a waste not to spend a night at the Osawa Hostel there and take a bath in one of their famous hot springs. See our Osawa listing for more details.