I have seen it on Discovery channel a long time ago. “Look at this crazy festival”, you have might heard about it, that Japanese penis festival. What is this really all about? After arriving in Tokyo I had to google “Japanese penis festival”. The festival is of course not a penis festival, that is just my western mind trying to find out what to google, however it describes fairly well what imitations you will see there in all shapes and sizes. The dates of the festival vary and the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. That is now, I am here, I got a rental Suzuki, I am ready!
Go little Suzuki, Kawasaki next and a quite special festival, gps set to the Kanayama Shrine.
“Festival of the Steel Phallus” is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki. My first encounter with the festival is these guys outside 7-eleven on the parking lot. These guys are happy, drunk and celebrating Japan style.
The big guns are brought out for the parade trough the streets from the shrine and back again. A crowd cheering a penis being paraded trough the streets are something out of this world.
Candy in all shapes and forms. You will find several vendors selling penis festival inspired candy and snacks. I passed on these ones.
The Kanamara Matsuri is centered on a local penis-venerating shrine. The legend being that a jealous sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman the demon fell in love with and bit off penises of two young men on their wedding nights. After that the woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which led to the enshrinement of the item.
As you see I did not dress for the event, luckily a lot of others did. Even though the festival display some graphic stuff it is not too bad to attend. People have had enough to drink to make this a celebration and not just a awkward day. I guess the whole theme of the festival needs some drinks to overcome any uncertainties.
It is also said the shrine offers divine protections for business prosperity, and for the clan’s prosperity; and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony.
The festival started in 1977 at this shrine. It used to be small, but it has become bigger and bigger, as you would expect from a festival like this. Today, the festival is also a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research.
Dance like no one is watching and use your, you know, as microphone. This guy got the party started!
The festival draws a crowd of tourist also, all eager to take part in the celebration. Food, snacks and essential merchandise is available.
Happy faces all over the place. Get your snacks from this guy.
Back to the narrow streets of Sangenjaya Tokyo after the festival. I have returned the rental Suzuki at Nippon Rent a car, 24h of course. This day have been something different. If you get the chance stop by this festival, have fun, forget all your worries and tell your friends you actually attended that Japanese penis festival .