On April 7th the Kanamara Matsuri was held in Kawasaki, near to Tokyo, and one of the most popular of Japan’s phallic fertility festivals.
The highlight of the festival is the parade of the giant cock through the streets as it is processed between two shrines. This is stroked and touched by the crowds as it passes.
This year saw the largest number of visitors ever, around 50,000 people and ten times more than the crowds were ten years ago. It is said to be now the largest festival of its kind in Japan.
There were times when television channels would pixellate images of the penis float, due to Japan’s bizarre century-old and ambiguous law on protecting public morals by not showing genitals. However, this was opposed by the shrine organizers themselves since it is not actually a penis, but a shrine itself.
As many as a third of the visitors were foreign, according to media reports. (We find this very unlikely given the number of foreigners in Japan.) Two British girls in their twenties who work as English teachers apparently said, “We heard about the festival in a bar at Asakusa.”
The festival also famously comes complete with penis-shaped sweets, snacks and even radishes for visitors to nibble on!
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