The Giant Pink Penis
Festival (Kanamara Matsuri)
Each year, Kawasaki city is home of the giant pink penis festival, an
event centered on only one thing: the male’s reproductive
organ. Tourists flock toWhen:
First Sunday of April
Kanamara Shrine, Kawasaki-city the festival site to see
pink penis parade in the streets, eat penis shapped candies, buy small
penis toys, etc. Lots of fun and laughter is had by all but
this festival has a deeper, more important meaning than just the
worship of the penis.
The Origin of the Giant Pink Penis Festival
During the Edo period (early 1600s) Kawasaki became a
important town, being
so close to the capital (only a river separates Tokyo to
Kawasaki.) Kawasaki It was also one of the last stops for
travelers on the Tōkaidō between Edo and other western
destinations. Like all good tourist area, Kawasaki had its
share of recreation for weary travellers. One such
“recreation” was the famous tea houses. In these tea houses,
they didn’t only sell tea but also the use of young women for a limited
Kanamara shrine was visited by such prostitutes to pray for
the protection of the gods agains venereal diseases.
The legend goes that a women’s vagina was inhabited with a
toothed demon who would bite off the penis of men. After
having castrated her newly-wed husband on two different
occasion, she went to see a metalsmith who made her a penis made of
metal to break the teeth of the demon, thus allowing her to have a
normal life. (would the toothed demon be an allegory for a
With time, the local prostitutes visited the shrine for
protection against STDs and other people went to pray for fertility,
abondance in business and in life.
The Giant Pink Penis Festival Today
Today, the festival is a huge touristic attraction with thousands of
people flocking to the event.
The festival is today used to bring awareness to STDs in
general and raise funds to combat HIV.
People can take pictures with the giant pink penis, ride the battering
ram sized penis, buy penis shaped candies, dress as penises,
carve penis shaped vegetables, etc. Lots of fun!
I will be adding pictures of the festival here for your viewing
pleasure and, above all, your education on the giant Pink Penis
The Festival's Schedule
The festival is held on the first Sunday of the month of April.
Here is the schedule of the festivities.
The Saturday night before the festival
Between 18:00 and 18:30:
Offerings made of rice flour in the shape of the yin and yang are
grilled and offered to attendants.
On The Day Of The Festival
11:00 to 11:15
The bon fire is lit and the festival begins.
11:15 to 11:45
There is a short Shinto ceremony after which dried sardines and Japanese sake are served for good fortune.
11:45 to 12:00
The giant pink penis mobile altar (called omikoshi in Japanese) in carried to the shrine.
12:00 to 12:30
Japanese radish (daikon) are carved in the shape of the male and female sexual organs.
13:00 to 14:30
This is when the merriment begins. People dress up, parade and take pictures, many stands are available around the shrine to buy stuff like food, candies and other souvenirs.
The festival winds down and the daikon carvers from 11:45 are judged
and prizes are given to the winners. The winners of the
costumed parade are also announced. A banquet follows.
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