This is one celebration where being a dick is cool, in fact, the bigger the dick, the better. Kanamara Matsuri, an annual festival held in Japan, celebrates the willy.
Image by: Takanori
No, not Willie Nelson, or Willy Wonka, not even William Shakespeare. We’re talking about the penis, the schlong, the male member.
While Westerners and prudes giggle and cringe at the sight of gigantic penises, the ancient tradition is a very serious celebration of, and prayer for, fertility, STDs and HIV.
Held on the first Sunday in April, the festival takes place on April 3, 2022. It is at the Kanayama Shrine, which is located at Wakamiya Hachimangu Temple, in Kawasaki, Japan.
What’s The Kanamara Matsuri Festival About?
While the meaning behind the celebration goes much deeper, it’s still a festival that pays homage to the penis.
If that’s what you came to see, you’re not going to feel let down. For lovers of all things phallic, from penis hats and puppets, to floats and costumes!
Image by: elmimmo
Couples, young and old, attend the festival looking for cures for impotence, to assist with infertility, and to participate in the big parade.
Kanamara Matsuri sees every Tom, Dick, and Harry take part in this annual event, and has become hugely popular with the LGBT community.
Celebrations start on the Saturday evening with yang and yin shaped rice treats that are prepared, and everyone gets to taste them. Traditionally the symbols represent the male and female energies respectively.
On Sunday, at 11 am, the festival officially starts with a huge bonfire being lit and a short Shinto ceremony taking place, after which sake and dried sardines are served for good fortune.
At around 12 o’ cock, er, 12 o’ clock, the omikishi (or as we like to call it, the OMG), a giant member altar is transported to the Kanamara shrine, in preparation for the start of the spectacle.
Interestingly, the giant pink penis was donated by Elizabeth Kaikan, Tokyo’s famous drag queen bar and club and is affectionately known as ‘Elizabeth’.
The Kanamara Mastsuri Afternoon Parade
The rest of the celebration is all about the afternoon parade, which starts at about 1 pm. Three enormous erect penises are carried through by worshippers dressed in what can only be described as penis-pink garments.
Revelers and onlookers line the streets, crowding around the idols, singing, shouting and chatting, while the willie-bearers sway, in worship of the yang.
Kanamara Matsuri is a Japanese festival celebrating the fertility of the male phallus in Kawasaki Japan. The earnings of the festival go to HIV and STD’s research.
What to Do?
The festival of Kanamara Matsuri takes place at Kanayama Shrine, which is located at Wakamiya Hachimangu Temple, in Kawasaki, Japan.
While Kawasaki itself isn’t a major tourist destination, there are a couple of things to do including a visit to the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art,
or the Ozenji Temple, home to the Zenjimaru persimmon, the oldest persimmon tree in the country.
Want to join a pub crawl in Kawasaki? then check out Kawasaki Ogawa-Cho Bar Hopping.
Where to Stay?
The Richmond Hotel Premier Musashikosugi is a quick 5-minute walk from JR Musashi Kosugi Station, and the hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi, 24-hour assistance and a coin-operated launderette. It’s in close proximity to supermarkets, malls, and public transport.
Flexstay Inn in Kawasaki is the perfect accommodation if you’re looking for somewhere that is budget friendly. The room has a kitchenette and a microwave for self-catering purposes, as well as free Wi-Fi, vending machine with drinks and a launderette. It’s a convenient 10-minute walk from JR Kawasaki station.
What To Eat?
Penis Shape Sweets
The food and drink vendors are pretty much what you would find at any typical Japanese festival, but you can also buy penis-themed member-bilia like pen(i)s, toys chocolates, glasses with a penis nose and other bits and bobs.
Sake With A Twist
There is free sake tasting in the afternoon, with a twist naturally. A tiny dried fish is eaten with a shot of sweet tasting sake, because, apparently, the sweet tasting, cloudy looking white drink combined with the taste of the fish looks and tastes like semen. We can’t say we’ve ever tasted sweet semen, but we also don’t live in a city where everyone worships a giant pink penis called Elizabeth.
How to Get There?
Flying into Tokyo’s Narita International Airport can be quite daunting given the size and possible language barriers, so it’s a good idea to arrive early and spend some time navigating your way around the area.
It’s a half an hour bus ride to Kawasaki Daishi Station, which is spitting distance from the shrine.
If you’re traveling from Kawasaki-Daishi station on the Keikyu Daishi Line, you’ll see an exit for the south, take it. Walk down the street and you’ll see the temply on the right. Or you can just follow the mass of people.
From Shinagawa, travel the Keikyu Main Line to Keikyu Kawasaki. Look for the Keikyu Daishi Line, and then follow directions as above.
You can expect to pay around ¥240 for the total trip.
Kanamara Matsuri History
You’re probably wondering how they came to hold a festival that celebrates a willy.
The story goes that a demon with very sharp teeth fell for a mortal woman.She on the other hand didn’t feel the same way and chose to marry someone else instead.
This made the demon angry and he did what most spawned lover-demons do, he took residency in her vagina and when the newly-wed couple tried to make things official, the demon/woman’s vagina literally bit off more than he could chew, removing the rather unlucky groom’s penis.
The woman soon remarried and her new husband’s penis shared the same fate, with the jealous and angry vagina/demon biting off the poor fellow’s member as well.
Eventually the villagers decided that to take matters into their own hands and they asked the town’s blacksmith to make a large, steel penis. When they inserted it into the woman’s vagina the demon bit into it, and broke all his teeth. The toothless demon left the woman’s vagina forever.
You would think the town’s people would have rather celebrated the tooth fairy or mouse, but no, the legend was commemorated by constructing a shrine to honor both Kanayama Hikonokami as well as Himenokami, the Japanese gods of lower stomach health and child birth.
Later on the shrine was visited by prostitutes, where they would ask for the gods for protection from various STDs. Today the temple holds powers to help with fertility, with married couples who want to have a baby visiting the temple.