April 2015


The Festival of the Steel Phallus: かなまら祭り / Kanamara Matsuri

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: preparations

Getting the pink one in place, ready for the day’s celebrations.

Last Sunday, as promised, I made it to the Festival of the Steel Phallus in suburban(ish) Tokyo, specifically Kawasaki.

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: What a *-head

Ever had a friend who was a total dickhead? This guy’s friends can honestly say so.

Deciding what time to arrive was tricky. When I was there Saturday, the man told me that it got underway at noon – but that didn’t jibe with everything I’d read about the party. Most English language sources said that it was best to get there “early,” without actually defining what “early” meant. Therein I asked a Japanese friend – who did some research and told me that I should be there by 10:00, 9:00 would be better, and if I showed up at 11, “it must be packed and you can’t move….”

His advice was spot on.

Having finished breakfast and purchased a train ticket in the morning, I showed up at about 8:30 in the morning – well before everything was set-up – which provided for some nice photo opportunities and the ability to buy things unhindered by excessive crowds.

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: Moving Men

Putting the black phallus in place, well before the crowds arrived.

If you’ve found this page looking for advice about when to show up, I would say that between 9:00 and 9:30 is ideal: the stands selling the phallus celebrating goods that you want to buy open around 9:00 and the lines and crowds are not excessive until around 10:30 – at which point, you’re going to have to fight your way through a lot of people to buy anything – or even just to see what’s for sale.

That said, I forgot to take pictures of them (and they are not currently in my possession), but I bought two different kinds of cocksuckers.

Oh wait, that sounds bad. Maybe “penis lollypops”?

There were also lots of cocksuckers (in a good way – but truly, I must ask, is a cocksucker ever a bad thing?) wandering around the festival – people who had purchased the lollypops and were eager to consume them before leaving the party.

Riding the Wooden Pony.

She’s licking a cock-lolly and riding the wooden pony.

I would estimate that the crowd was about two-thirds Japanese, one-third foreigner (many Americans, many American soldiers, and at least one couple from Poland) – all taking advantage of the many things that one wants to photograph. There were objects to pose with as well.

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: impressive man

I wanted to ask this man for his phone number.

From my perspective, I reached my limit of celebrations around 11:00, which means that I did not see the parade. What made me reach my limit was the combination of many people – and rain. I think that had it not been raining off and on, I could have put up with the crowds and waited for the parade to start.

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: waiting for the parade

These people were waiting for the parade to start — the festival grounds were, at this point, so completely packed that it was hard to move.

Instead I wandered off and explored the streets of Japan – always a bizarre and worthwhile thing to do.

かなまら祭り/Kanamara Matsuri: Staff Only

There is something perversely amusing and awesome about having a “staff only” sign at a phallus festival.

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