The Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus, かなまら祭り?) is an annual Shinto fertility festival held in Kawasaki, Japan in spring. The exact dates vary: the main festivities fall on the first Sunday in April. The penis forms the central theme of the event that is reflected everywhere—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 against sexually transmitted diseases. It is said that there are divine protections also in business prosperity and the clan’s prosperity, easy delivery, marriage, and married couple harmony. There is also a legend of a sharp-toothed demon that hid inside the vagina of a young girl and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. As a result, the young girl sought help with a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth, leading to the enshrinement of the item.
Today, the festival has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research.