Literally translated, Kanamara Matsuri means "Festival of the Steel Phallus". According to a legend, a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman. This Sexually Transmitted Demon (a.k.a. STD) was quite a nasty fellow and it even castrated two young men on their wedding nights. Leaving the poor young woman no other choice than...
asking a blacksmith for help, who promptly crafted an iron phallus for her (i think the proper technical term is Dildo nowadays). Beside the benefits of instant gratification and infinite pleasure, the iron phallus also broke the demons tooth. And so no more tragic injuries have been reported since. The perfect synergy of usefulness and divinity led to the enshrinement of the Steel Phallus at the Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan where the Kanamara Matsuri festival is held every year at the first Sunday in April in memorial of of the Steel Phallus's boon.
As you can see at the pictures, the penis is the central theme of the event. You see penises in illustrations, as carved vegetables, even phallus shaped candy and of course the two about 1.5 meters tall penis sculptures.
Kanamara Matsuri Parade
One of the highlights of the event is the Kanamara Matsuri Parade, where two ~1.5 meters tall penis sculptures are carried through the streets of Kawasaki followed by a procession of mostly foreign tourists. Speaking of foreign tourists: The festival is extremely overcrowded. Even for Japanese standards. It is fun to go there and witness the hustle and bustle but because of the extreme amount of people it gets tiring and stressful rather quickly.
Well, and that concludes this article about the celebration of physical pleasure at the Kanamara Matsuri festival. If you visit it, be sure to spend a minute for a prayer at the Kanayama Shrine. That might come in handy afterwards, because it is said that the shrine offers divine protections for business prosperity.
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