|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) in Kawasaki, Japan. The exact dates vary: the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. The penis, as the central theme of the event – is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade.
The Kanamara Matsuri is centered around a local penis-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. It is said that there are also divine protections for business prosperity and for the clan’s prosperity; and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony. There is also a legend of a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) that hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, which lead to the enshrinement of the item.
Today, the festival has become something of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research.