Kanamara Festival – Penis Worshipping?

Kanamara Festival

A very strange scene can be seen every April in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. It’s their local festival at which they use portable shrines in shape of penis. So it means that there are giant penises parading in the streets, and it doesn’t end only with these unusual portable shrines. Penis and vagina resembling candies are sold at this event, to add even more oddness to this festival.

All the things going on at this festival are not something thought up by a perverse brain, or maybe yes, but it has a historical background. Deity of Fertility is enshrined in Kanamara Shrine and it is quite popular with the people who have some reproducing problems or who want to pray for being blessed by a baby. Other people come to pray for protection against venereal diseases, or for cure from them. The festival is said to have been introduced in the Edo Period when prostitutes from Kawasaki-juku came to Kanamaru Shrine to pray for prevention from sexually transmitted diseases.

You can take a look at the video from Kanamara Festival to see what those portable shrines look like.

Some photos can be seen on this link.

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