Kanamara Penis Festival restores pink phallic float to former glory
The annual Kanamara Penis Festival is one of the most famous and popular in Japan and seems to be attended by as many foreigners as Japanese. While you probably won’t find it promoted in any of the official government tourist information, sightseers to take snaps of the phallic objects of worship as well as sample the penis-shaped sweets. Cool Japan indeed.
Held every April in Kawasaki City, one of the highlights of the festival is a large pink phallic float apparently called Elizabeth.
Last year this was only on a four-wheeled trolley and visitors were disappointed by its lack of visibility.
This year, though, we (and no doubt many others) were pleased to see that it was back to its typical self: hoisted onto people’s shoulders and carried around in the classic Japanese matsuri “mobile shrine” (mikoshi) style.
Yes, this may be a nation that pixellates porn and prohibits the depiction of genitalia upon fear of prosecution, but you can still see a large pink cock openly paraded around the streets of a city neighboring Tokyo, and buy sweets shaped like your Johnson.
The shrine is held in honor to Kanamara, the patron god of blacksmiths and prostitutes. Kanayama Shrine then became a site associated with fertility, prosperity, marriage and phallic symbolism. Courtesans used to visit and this custom can still be seen today in the women dressed up in courtesan costumes who take part in the festival.
So can we look forward to seeing the Elizabeth float as part of the 2020 Olympics’ opening ceremony? Well, it’s from Kawasaki, not Tokyo, so perhaps we shouldn’t dream too much.
See more photos from this year’s festival here.
The second most famous fertility or phallic festival in Japan is the Honen Matsuri in Aichi, which takes place in March.