It’s all in the name of Japanese culture and tradition.
Out of all the amazing traditional festivals held in Japan, there’s one that stands out, quite literally, thanks to its giant pink penis. It’s the Kanamara Festival held in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and after years of bringing you first-hand reports from the day’s festivities, it’s now time to take a look at all the fun from this year’s event, which was held yesterday at Kanayama Shrine.
Our roving Japanese-language reporter was on the scene with camera in hand, ready to photograph as many phalic-shaped objects as he could find. As soon as he arrived, he made a beeline for the most adulated member at the venue, a huge pink float called Elizabeth.
▼ Last year, the Elizabeth float proved to be a disappointment for visitors, as it was rolled around the area on a four-wheeled trolley.
This year, the star attraction was back to its usual impressive self, secured onto wooden planks which were hoisted on the shoulders of festivalgoers, allowing the giant phallic symbol to jostle up and down above the crowd.
▼ The glistening pink giant was showered with compliments as it passed through the streets.
The unique festival with the unusual float might seem like a modern invention, but its traditional roots can actually be traced back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868), when the festival was originally held to honour Kanamara, the god of blacksmithing. Kanamara’s role as a patron of the smiths grew to include workers in the sex industry when the area became a busy area for brothels servicing travellers on the Tokaido route from Kyoto to Tokyo. Prostitutes began visiting Kanayama Shrine to pray for protection against venereal diseases, which led to the phallic symbol being used in celebration as a way to ask for prosperity in business, health, fertility, easy childbirth, marriage, protection from venereal disease, and harmony between husband and wife.
▼ Edo-period courtesans can be seen during the festival today as a nod to the event’s traditional roots.
▼ The festival continues to take place at Kanayama Shrine, with miko shrine maidens performing sacred dances as part of the day’s events.
Alongside tradition are stalls of souvenirs, where visitors can pick up all sorts of phallic merchandise. Some of the popular items this year were T-shirts, in slightly larger sizes than last year…
▼ And eye-popping lollipops, in a variety of shapes and flavours.
While the Elizabeth float was the star of the day, two smaller floats carrying penises were also out on the streets, making an appearance as they do every year.
▼ There was the wooden “Big Mikoshi”
▼ And the “Kanamara Boat Mikoshi”, made of iron.
The festival attracted crowds of local and international visitors, who came to receive protection and good luck from the exuberant display of penises.
If you ever wondered what a sacred penis float might look like on the streets of Japan, take a peek at this short video below!
For those who missed out on the event, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s festivities. The Kanamara Festival is held on the first Sunday of April every year, which is perfect timing for those coming to Japan to visit another popular pink icon – the blooming of the sakura cherry blossoms!
Photos © RocketNews24
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