Weird festivals – Kanamara Matsuri

The legends says there used to live a beautiful girl who accidentally enchanted a sharp-toothed demon. He became so obsessed with her that he couldn’t bear a thought of her with another man. Thus, he hid himself in her vagina and when the girl was about to lie down with her husband-to-be, the demon bit the man’s penis off. This happened once again when the girl tried her chance with another suitor. Eventually, she paid a visit to a local blacksmith who created an iron phallus for her. The demon broke his teeth and that led to an enshrinement to the item.

This story is remembered well in the city of Kawasaki (Kanagawa prefecture) – every year people go into the streets and head for the Kanayama Shrine (金山神社, Kanayama-jinja) to celebrate the Festival of Steel Phallus. The phallus, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candies, carved vegetables, decorations, small souvenirs and a mikoshi parade. 

The shire has been offering protection against sexually transmitted diseases (highly popular among prostitutes in the past), also a relief for those who pray for an easy delivery or a married-couple harmony. 

As many other Shintō festivals, Kanamara Matsuri as well is accompanied by the tradition of mikoshi (神輿). Mikoshi is a sacred religious palanquin or a portable Shintō shrine, if you prefer. Shintō followers believe that it serves as the vehicle to transport a deity in Japan while moving between main shrine and temporary shrine during a festival or when moving to a new shrine. Often, the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing.

As you can imagine thanks to its character, the festival (or “matsuri” in Japanese) is gaining more and more popularity among foreign tourists who don’t want to miss a chance to take a selfie with those kinky lollipops!

Check the gallery and let us know what are your thoughts:)

Would you like to be the part of Kanamara Matsuri when there is a chance again? Would you feel awkward or you would simply have fun there with your friends?

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