Kanamara Matsuri – Kawasaki, Japan

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The idea of a penis festival may sound ludicrous, but actually, it’s a Shinto religious tradition many Japanese folks take seriously. So there’s a solemn aspect to it, but you can also have fun there! Here’s how to enjoy it.

Where Does The Tradition Come From?

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As is often the case, “matsuri” festivals in Japan are centered around a Shinto shrine. In Kawasaki, a suburb of Tokyo, there is the Kanayama (金山) shrine which encompasses in its premises the Wakamiya Hachimangu (若宮八幡宮), a kind of secondary inner shrine dedicated to the goddess of creation Izanami, which is one of the most important deities of the Shinto religion.

When she gave birth to her son Kagutsuchi, the god of fire, she burnt her reproductive organs and died. The Wakaiya Hachimangu is a shrine hence that is dedicated to sexual health. From the Edo Era, people prayed at that shrine to recover from STDs which were very prevalent in Japan at the time.

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