WARNING! MORE GRAPHIC PHOTOS IN THIS POST!
Today was the Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus), which is held every year in Kawasaki at the Kanamaya shrine.
I had heard about this festival from a friend and seen pictures of it before coming to Japan, so I was very excited to go when I heard that it was today!
There’s more information about this festival online (like this legend about a demon but I think it’s a bit explicit for my blog), but apparently during the Edo period prostitutes came to pray at this shrine for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Anyway, it took over an hour and a half to get to KawasakiDaishi station where the festival was being held. There were SO many people there and the number of foreigners attending the festival was outstanding. It was funny to see that there was a real mixture of people, such as families with young children to old ladies dressed up in kimonos.
When we got there, the penis mikoshi had just left the shrine. We did try to follow the parade but everyone had the same idea, so we decided to head back to the shrine and see what was there and wait for the parade to come round again.
Within the shrine there were loads of stalls selling penis related goodies, like lollies, stationery, clothing etc.
I actually bought a penis shaped lolly (I actually got 2 lollies…) because the money made from the festival apparently goes towards HIV research.
There were also food stalls like Yakitori, Takoyaki, and kebabs!
Quite a few people decided to get into the spirit of things by dressing up – some more risqué than others.
They even had some wooden phallus statues that you could climb on and have your photo taken.
Eventually the parade came back to the shrine and I managed to get some good shots. There were 3 penis mikoshi – a pink one, a big brown one, and a wooden one.
It was a really interesting experience to say the least. A fun day out which can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age.
Apologies if anyone has been offended by this post. But I think that this sort of festival is the sort of thing that I’ve been looking forward to going to as I think it’s very “Japan”, which is why I decided to write a whole blog post on it!
Thanks for reading!