Let me just begin by saying – there is no shortage of penis-orientated stuff in Japan. Penis festivals, naked man festivals, penis temples, penises everywhere.
They actually parade giant penises through the street in Komaki, where worshippers queue up to pray to a wooden willy and ring a dong-shaped gong in the hopes of increasing fertility.
So what about the female anatomy?
Well there is one, single, solitary temple in Japan dedicated to boobs. ONE. That’s it. Talk about gender inequality.
The temple is located in Komaki, a small town in Aichi Prefecture about 30 minutes on the train from InsideJapan’s Nagoya office, so we decided to investigate.
Mamma Kannon – Japan’s Boob Temple
“Mamma Kannon“, as it’s known, is tucked away amongst quiet residential streets, and as you enter the grounds you’ll soon notice some rather unusual statuary lining your path. Statues of bare-breasted ladies and boob-shaped fountains “lactating” jets of water were just some of the highlights, while the shrine itself is adorned with hundreds of seemingly home-made fabric boobs.
Once before the shrine, worshippers kneel down in front of a pair of granite boobs, use a brush-like object to massage them, then touch the brush on their own head. Just like any other temple in Japan, there are racks and racks of wooden prayer tablets (called “ema”) on which visitors have recorded their prayers – ranging from hopes for a healthy baby, to a relative’s safe recovery from breast cancer, to requests to the boob-gods for a more bountiful bosom. Many include diagrams of exactly what size they’d like their boobs to grow to!
If you find yourself in Komaki for the more famous penis festival which also happens to take place here, be sure to check out the boob temple too. It may be a little more obscure, but it’s fascinating – and very amusing if you can find someone to translate the prayer tablets for you!