A Porn Museum? Don’t Worry, This One In Uwajima Is Run By A Priest

Rachel Holdsworth
Poor Uwajima. It has one of only 12 castles in Japan to survive from the Edo period, and yet all people want to talk about is the porn museum attached to Taga Shrine.
 
That’s fair enough. Japan’s sex museums are on the decline (even the famous one in Beppu is now an exhibition space for Buddhist art). But this one’s attached to a shrine and run by a priest. A very enthusiastic priest, given the range and extent of this collection of adult objects. So that’s OK, right?
-> This way to Taga Shrine
-> This way to Taga Shrine | Photo by Rachel Holdsworth
Taga Shrine itself is dedicated to long life and fertility. If you’re wondering whether you’ve found the right place—there are several other temples and shrines en route along the river, Warei Shrine in particular is worth popping into—the phallus statue to the left of the main entrance will immediately set you right. It’s a small site, thick with trees, and has several small buildings dotted around the grounds (check out the one with the creepy dolls).
Creepy dolls at Taga Shrine
Creepy dolls at Taga Shrine | Photo by Rachel Holdsworth
But we’re not here for the shrine, are we? We’re here for the three-storey building staffed by a bored-looking monk at the entrance gate. (There’s nobody else around during our visit.) By Japanese standards, the 800 yen entry fee isn’t cheapo territory but it’s definitely one of the odder things you’ll do here. And given the 20,000 yen charge to take photos, it’s a museum that will spawn a hundred anecdotes rather than all your friends seeing the pictures on Facebook and never mentioning it again.
Once inside, the first thing to note is that this is all historical. There are lots of artifacts (including shelves and shelves of virtually identical statues of many-armed Hindu gods having sex where the woman appears to be doing all the work. Chuh). I’m pretty sure there’s even a small ornament depicting a spit-roast.
Taga Shrine Phallus
Photo by Rachel Holdsworth
If hundreds of phalluses or literal sex gods aren’t your thing, move on to the reams of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) and other graphically drawn erotica. It’s certainly imaginative and, compared to a lot of what’s around in the filthier corners of the internet, the women all look to be having a brilliant time. On the top floor there’s the arresting sight of around 200 foot-high statues crammed together in a tight space, so it looks like a miniature orgy. Then we move onto the bestiality section, where everything gets properly weird: stand-out moments include an octopus performing cunnilingus and a surprising number of women being fucked by swans.
 
You don’t get that at Tokyo’s Edo Museum.

Access and admission fees

There are direct trains to Uwajima from Matsuyama that take about 90 minutes and cost 1,810 yen or free with a rail pass. The Taga Shrine is a 15-minute walk to the north of Uwajima Station. The grounds and shrine are free, the sex museum costs 800 yen to enter.
 
To make a full day of it, you can also visit that original castle (200 yen, grounds are free to enter), and Tenshaen Garden (300 yen) is a beautiful place to pause for a while. Next to Tenshaen Garden is the Date Museum (500 yen), dedicated to the local feudal clan. Uwajima isn’t overburdened with places to eat: try near the station, or in the shopping arcade parallel to the main road east of the castle grounds.
Tenshaen Garden
Tenshaen Garden | Photo by Rachel Holdsworth

Location Map:

Name: Taga Shrine
Pricing info: Taga Shrine: Free | Sex Museum: 800 yen
Address: 1340 Fujie, Uwajima-shi, Ehime-ken 798-0010, Japan
Location(s): Ehime,
Access: Uwajima Station
Phone: 0895-22-3444 0895-22-3444
Business hours: 08:00-17:00
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One Response to “A Porn Museum? Don’t Worry, This One In Uwajima Is Run By A Priest”

  1. 20,000 yen to take photos, really?? As in twenty thousand yen?


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