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Kanamara Matsuri a special party

April 2011 Kawasaki Japan

If you are visiting Japan around April, which is one of the most pleasant times to visit and looking for something a little out of the ordinary to do, you could always attend the Kanamara Matsuri or Penis Festival.Which over the last few years has become quite the attraction for Japanese locals and tourists alike.

Only in Japan would a giant 2.5-meter wooden penis be carried on the shoulders of locals to the adoration of cheering crowds. But that’s exactly what happens at this annual Shinto Fertility festival held in Kawasaki each spring. Everything with a phallic theme is on offer here, from penis shaped sweets, candles, phallic key rings, willy shaped dumplings and even fruits and vegetables carved into various suggestive forms and even a gigantic penis-shaped wooden battering ram, that is a favorite for crowds to rest on.

On a serious note however the Kanamara Matsuri is an ancient Shinto festival that was celebrated to honor fertility, these days it’s also used to educate people on preventing STDs, and to raise money for HIV research.

The Kanamara Matsuri, which translates to Big Iron Penis Lord, it has been celebrated for the last 300 years during the first week of April in Kawasaki, Japan.

The event concludes on the first Sunday of April, this festival, which has been held since the 1600s, centers around the legend of a demon that, hid inside the vagina of a young girl and castrated two young men on their wedding nights In retaliation, the young damsel sought the assistance of a blacksmith, who in turn built an iron phallus to combat the demon.

This led the Shinto people, to build a giant penis shrine that prostitutes would visit to seek protection from STDs. In due time, the shrine became portable and this festival was born.

In general, traditional Japanese festivals have not been very accessible to foreigners, but this one is different.

Kawasaki is less than an hour from Tokyo by train and is also famous for it’s motorbikes.

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