Kanamara Matsuri – Kawasaki, Japan
Kanamara Matsuri, also known as the “Festival of the Steel Phallus,” the “Festival of the Penis” or the “Pink Penis Parade,” is an annual fertility centered celebration held in Kawasaki, Japan. The event takes place at the Kanayama Shrine every spring with varying annual dates that always fall on the first Sunday of April. It originated during the country’s Edo period (1603 – 1867) with prostitutes praying for protection against STD’s at the local penis-venerating shrine. (Seriously)
Kanamara Matsuri is considered a fun event with a less than serious vibe for attendees. The popularity has grown over the years, with attendees being Japanese residents and tourists alike. Although the focus of penises may give the impression of an erotic based event, it is not. As odd as it may sound, children frequent the event with their parents and can enjoy the numerous penis candies, dressed up characters (like Superman, Pikachu, anime and more) and art works that are widely available. Various other treats, souvenirs and displays can be found as well.
Since its inception, Kanamara Matsuri has since evolved to promote fertility, harmonious marriages and even draw attention and fundraise for HIV research. It undoubtedly looks weird to many of us not used to such a sexually open culture, but it is heralded as a celebration of man’s ability to reproduce. Other activities that take place include a parade of transvestites, old men carving radishes into penises and more. All the bold activities taking place at this event are culturally believed to drive out bad luck found in marriages, pregnancy, family life and sex life.
By train, Kawasaki is just a 30 minutes ride from Tokyo, just get off when you reach the Kawasaki-Daishi Station.