Coordinates: 35°32′04.35″N 139°43′28.67″E / 35.5345417°N 139.7246306°E
|Observed by||Kanayama shrine, Kawasaki, Japan|
|Date||First Sunday in April|
|2019 date||April 7 |
|2020 date||April 5 |
|2021 date||April 4 |
|2022 date||April 3 |
The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri (かなまら祭り, "Festival of the Steel Phallus") is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine (金山神社, Kanayama-jinja) in Kawasaki, Japan. The exact dates vary: the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. The phallus, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade.
The Kanamara Matsuri is centered on a local penis-venerating shrine. The legend being that a jealous sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman the demon fell in love with and bit off penises of two young men on their wedding nights. After that the woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon's teeth, which led to the enshrinement of the item. This legend in Ainu language was published as "The Island of Women" by Basil Hall Chamberlain
The Kanayama Shrine was popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection from sexually transmitted infections.
It is also said the shrine offers divine protections for business prosperity, and for the clan's prosperity; and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony.
The festival started in 1969. Today, the festival has become something of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research.