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Kanamara Matsuri Festival

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We were as surprised as you are probably, but it is really true: every year in Japan a real penis festival takes place. The Kanamara Matsuri is a fertility festival that is celebrated every first Sunday in April in a small town underneath Tokyo.

During the festival, three erect penises are paraded on altars through the streets. The streets are full of people waiting for the mobile temples, while the carriers sing, chant and shout with great force from one side to the other. It feels more like a mosh pit than a pilgrimage. It is pushing and pushing just to get through the crowd, but everyone is happy.

The origin of the festival is the legend of a demon who fell in love with a woman, and therefore settled in her vagina. Every time the woman had sex with her husband, the demon bit his penis. The woman had a metal penis made by a blacksmith, so that the demon would break his teeth and disappeared forever. The iron penis was then declared holy and placed in the local temple. Since then there have been prayers in the temple for the protection of venereal diseases.

To honor the penis, a whole festival has now been built around the myth. The profit of the festival goes to HIV research. 

This article was last updated on June 29, 2022.