Spring

Kanamara Matsuri 2019 – How to Enjoy the Crazy Festival of the Phallus

Matthew

Writer

This time, I have an amusing festival to introduce to all of you. It’s called the Kanamara Matsuri and takes place in Kawasaki, Japan. It’s unique and might be a step away from the image of festivals you may have, so without further ado…

About Kanamara Matsuri

What?

The Kanamara Matsuri (かなまら祭り) is well-known as the Japanese Penis Festival or the Festival of the Steel Phallus. It is a traditional Japanese festival held 15 minutes away from Tokyo. The festival celebrates fertility and sexual health with the penis being the main attraction.

Details and Access

Dates: In 2019 the festival will be held on April 7th. The date of the festival changes each year, but the main event is on the first Sunday of April.

Place: Kanayama Shrine

Address: 2 Chome-13-16 Daishi Ekimae, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken

Official Homepage (Japanese only)https://web.archive.org/web/20090330211859/http://tomuraya.co.jp/wakamiya-10.htm

Access:

The Kanamara Matsuri takes place in Kanayama Shrine in Kawasaki, Japan. The shrine is a 7-minute walk from Kawasaki-Daishi station. You can go the festival via the Keikyu Daishi line.  Anyone can attend the festival free of charge! Although, you may want to think about bringing kids to the festival if you aren’t comfortable.

Why?

This is likely the first question that pops into your head when you learn about the Kanamara Matsuri. The festival isn’t strange just to be strange. Kanamara Matsuri has a rich history and is due to the location of Kanayama Shrine. Kawasaki’s location made it a perfect pit stop for travelers on the road to the capital, Edo (Present-day Tokyo). Kawasaki had “tea houses” where travelers could rest, eat, drink, and buy time with women. So, the women would often visit the Kanayama Shrine to pray for protection against sexually transmitted infections. Due to this history, the Kanayama Shrine made a tradition of celebrating health and fertility as the Kanamara Matsuri.

While the festival may look too sexual for your comfort, many young Japanese families attend the Kanamara Matsuri. Also, it acts as a safe space for the LGBT community in Japan. The festival contrasts the conservative culture of Japan where sexuality is a taboo subject.

What Can You Do at Kanamara Matsuri?

Kanayama Shrine is a small shrine but attracts a large crowd that rivals some of the larger Matsuri in Japan. The shrine and the area surrounding turns into a bustling area packed with people.

When you walk into the Shrine, you’ll instantly notice the lines around some stalls selling many curious items. These items include sausages on a stick, penis-shaped candles, and penis-shaped lollipops. They make great souvenirs for yourself or your friends! Why not take a picture with your friends and the crazy items at the festival?

Two large penis-shaped “Mikoshi” (portable shrine) are the main attractions, which festival-goers carry in a parade-like fashion around the area. The first is a black mikoshi and the second is a pink one named “Elizabeth”. A drag queen club in Tokyo called “Elizabeth” donated “Elizabeth”, hence the name. The streets fill with people as the mikoshi travels around. It’s very lively and is a pleasant sight to see.

Other Things to Do in Kanagawa

Kawasaki is a city located in between Tokyo and Yokohama, two major cities in the Kanto region. After the festival, there are a variety of things to do in and around the city! Here are a few of my recommendations:

Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama’s Chinatown is the biggest Chinatown in Japan. There are so many delicious Chinese restaurants, and the entrance is fantastic for taking pictures. It’s also a short walk from Motomachi, which is a fashionable area great for shopping!

Yokohama Ramen Museum

At Shin-Yokohama station, there is an entire museum dedicated to Japan’s most famous food: ramen. If you are interested in trying ramen for the first time or are a ramen-maniac looking to compare different flavours, the Ramen Museum is a must-visit!

Tamagawa Cherry Blossoms

Tamagawa is the river that flows between Tokyo and Kanagawa. During Kanamara Matsuri, cherry blossoms bloom throughout Japan and Tamagawa is one spot to enjoy the sight of Sakura. Taking a stroll or having a picnic on the riverside would be an excellent way to spend a spring afternoon in Japan!

How to get to Kanamara Matsuri

From Tokyo Station

Get on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line to Shinagawa Station, then transfer to the Keikyu Main Line to Keikyu Kawasaki Station, then transfer to the Keikyu Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi Station.

From Shinjuku Station

Get on the JR Yamanote Line to Shinagawa Station, then transfer to the Keikyu Main Line to Keikyu Kawasaki Station, then transfer to the Keikyu Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi Station.

What is the Weather in Japan during spring?

When you travel to another country, you will probably worry about there. For the people who want to learn about the weather of spring in Japan, I would like to explain it.

Around March, there are mostly cold days, so you probably you need a jacket to bring. The average temperature in the afternoon is around 13 degrees Celsius and 5 degrees Celsius during morning and night.

In April there are plenty of sunny days with a clear sky. The average temperature in the afternoon is around 23 degrees Celsius, and decrease to 15 degrees Celsius during morning and night.

In May, during the afternoons it will be around 23 degrees Celsius, while in the evenings and mornings temperature decreases to about 15 degrees.

In Japan, spring is a perfect season to go outside because the weather is usually excellent. However, if you are planning to visit Japan during the end of the May, you should bring an umbrella. In Japan, there is a season called “Tsuyu”, which means rainy season. It starts from the end of May to beginning of June. Don`t worry if you forget it; you can buy it anywhere in Japan!

Closing Remarks

Kanamara Matsuri is the unique and crazy festival. I’d love to take new people to the festival and let them experience the fun moments that I did. Also, the shrine donates all of its income from the festival to HIV/AIDS research. So, you can have fun while feeling good inside.

You can join this festival with local friends too! If you need guides to take you to the festival and show you other things to do in the area check the banner below!

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

See More Tokyo Spring Events and Festivals This Year!

After cold winter, Tokyo blooms as hundreds of thousands of Sakura trees in spring. Not only it features numerous parks and spots for cherry blossoms viewing, but it also boasts uncountable events that will make your stay even more memorable. The weather is mild, so it is a perfect time for a walk around the city. The following article picked up the most interesting and popular festivals and events to attend this spring in Tokyo! Please take a look!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/popular-tokyo-spring-events-festivals

Enjoy Sakura in Japan!

Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.

If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!

Here’s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/ 

Osaka is very close to Kyoto. It will be a miss if you don’t visit Osaka to see cherry blossoms when you are in the Kansai area in spring. Please check the following article to find out the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in Osaka and Kansai!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/osaka-kansai-cherry-blossoms-spots-sakura-festivals-feel-spring 

Kyoto and Osaka have many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Matthew

Hi I’m Matthew, a university student from New Zealand currently studying in Japan.

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