Obviously the title gives it away but before asking my father-in-law to drive us all to Myotoku-ji temple (234 Ichiyama, Izu-shi) I wasn’t really sure why it was considered a quirky place. Over the last couple of years though I have come to trust my source for such places but on arrival I couldn’t for the life of me work out what (if anything at all!) was interesting about this temple other than a kannon statue on the roof. We asked the lady working there but she was just covering for the owner and was clueless as to why it may be of interest to people beyond the normal reasons for visiting such a place.
Some of you might think the two pictures at the top of this post give it away but we didn’t even notice that phallic rock formation in front of the temple until we were leaving. We were actually on the verge of leaving this regular run-of-the-mill temple until I did a quick google search and the word トイレ(toilet) was the one Japanese word which stuck out so I asked where the toilets were located and went to investigate!
The path down the side of the temples main hall leads to the toilets but just before them is what I had been looking for. There is a small room dedicated to the deity of the toilet offering relief for health problems relating to the digestive tract and reproductive organs. Or just a load of phallic shaped wooden and stone carvings if you prefer!!
Such male and female genitalia are donations from the temples believers and touching or stroking them will supposedly help prevent abdominal diseases in later life through the power of the deity Ususama Myōō.
Myotoku-ji temple is located near the village of Yugashima and it was apparently only discovered in the mid 1970’s by some reporters from the national broadcasting company NHK.
I didn’t really notice it but it appears that this temple sells underwear which is popular with visitors and has actually brought some unexpected wealth to the owners of this place.
The child in me is always amused by the sight of such phallic symbols. After all, I have attended the Penis Festival in Kawasaki four times now not to mention visiting a few other places relating to the anatomy such as the breast temple in Yamaguchi prefecture (a 2.5 hour one way journey!) and the Adult Museum in Atami. By contrast, this was fairly easy and just a slight detour from the main road in Izu City where we had been been on the wasabi trail.
Click here to read ‘Simply The Breast Temple In Japan’