Oct 3, 2017

The Penis Festival of Japan

You've visited the Penis Park of Sinnam, Korea and the Naked Man Festival of Okayama, Japan.  There are a few days left on your tour of East Asia, but not enough time to visit Bhutan, the Land of Penises.  What to do?

How about a Penis Festival?

The Kanamara Matsurai, Steel Penis Festival, is held every year during the first week of April in Kawasaki, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo.  Vendors sell dozens of varieties of phallus-shaped objects, including home decor, toys, and candles.

There are giant penis-shaped seesaws that you mount to increase your fertility, your potency, or just your joie de vivre.  

You eat dried sardines, a Japanese aphrodisiac, or penis-shaped sausages, ice cream cones, lollipops, and rice candy.

The highlight of the festival is a procession of the omikoshi, the giant steel phallus, from its Shinto shrine,  joined by several others, including a pink one carried by drag queens.  You should join the procession in costume.  People wear penis costumes or strap giant dildos to their crotches.  Crossdressing is common: men wear kimonos, women wear fundoshi.

There are various heterosexual legends for the origin of the festival, the most graphic involving an iron-jawed demon that hid inside a woman and castrated any man who tried to have sex with her. Then the Steel Penis intervened, broke the teeth of the evil demon, and made the world safe for sex.  It was probably a metaphor for venereal disease, and people still come to the festival to pray for protection or healing.

But today it's not for heterosexuals only; there are many gay and transgender people in attendance, and the Kanamara Matsurai has become a fundraiser for AIDS research.

Not a lot of male nudity, but occasionally you see men in fundoshi or jockstraps.  Or Batman.

The festival takes all day, but if you have time left over, visit the Kawasaki Daishi, an important Buddhist temple, or the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum, dedicated to the Doraemon manga and anime series (about a robot cat and his boy).

Also see the Penis Festival of Greece.


  1. That myth isn't unique to Japan. The Hopi have a similar story. There was even this myth among US soldiers in Vietnam, that prostitutes working for the Vietcong kept razors in their vaginas. I...am sure even you can figure out the issue with that.

    1. I can imagine how that might be a problem, but I don't understand why a prostitute would do it. Seems that it would cut down on your client base rather dramatically.

    2. Oh, ok, I get it now. They were working for the Viet Cong, so they were trying to sabotage American troops by castrating them.


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