Nope, it’s not an April Fool’s Day prank. There really is a penis festival that takes place every year in Japan. In the city of Kawasaki just south of Tokyo at Kanayama shrine, men and women from all over gather to worship the penis. That may be what it looks like on the outside, but actually there’s a lot more to the festival than that.
One of the more unique festivals in Japan, the Kanamara festival actually started as a worship of fertility gods. In the past, the city of Kawasaki was a stop gap on the Tokaido road to Tokyo. Usually towns like this specialized in inns and restaurants, and of course, brothels. Many women who worked at the brothels that populated Kawasaki City would pray to the fertility gods at Kanayama shrine.
Don’t get shafted by the large crowds. Come early!
These prayers were mostly to keep them safe from sexually transmitted diseases. However, ordinary people would come to the shrine to pray for a safe pregnancy and other more practical matters. Fertility didn’t only imply sexuality, but also business prosperity as well.
Many women who worked at the brothels that populated Kawasaki City would pray to the fertility gods at Kanamara shrine.
As the years wore on and Japan became more modernized, praying at the shrine for such things fell out of fashion. However, in the 1970s a high priest decided to resurrect the old tradition. At first, only a few dozen locals attended the newly reinstated fertility festival. However, it didn’t take long for word of that one festival where everyone gets their dicks out to spread. Nowadays, the festival is visited by thousands of attendees from Japan and beyond.
The modern day drill
The Kanamara festival takes place around Kawasaki station. You’ll see many shops and stands hawking goods leading up to the shrine area, but the majority of the action is concentrated on the park and shrine grounds.
The main attraction of the actual festival is the parade. Members of the town will dress in traditional garb and also fundoshi, those barely-there undergarments that are usually reserved for sumo wrestlers. They carry portable shrines called mikoshi through the crowd which hold giant one-eyed monster sculptures.
The most famous is perhaps the giant pink pocket rocket, which even has a name. Elizabeth was donated to the festival by the local drag club. In fact, the whole festival has partly become a way for LGBT activists to express themselves openly in otherwise conservative Japanese society.
Beyond the parade of penises, the festival also deals in a wide variety of babymaker-themed candies and even vegetables. There’s a competition people can enter to win daikon in the shape of the D. The local stands are brimming with brightly colored boner lollypops, as well as candy shaped in a more feminine persuasion for those who are uncomfortable popping the Washington monument into their mouth.
The best of both worlds
As mentioned, the festival has become a very international affair. People from not only Japan, but from around the world unite for a day of tally-wacker worshipping. While this may seem like the event has become over-commercialized, many of the proceeds for the event are donated to AIDS and HIV research by the shrine, so much of the money flowing in is put to use for a good cause.
Peep these posing peckers
Until next year…