Kanamara Matsuri – a Japanese Traditional Celebration of Fertility, Long Marriages and Healthy Births
Japan goes ALL out for Kanamara Matsuri, its celebration of Fertility!
Let’s Get Fertile!
Kanamara Matsuri is a beautiful celebration of all things fertility! While it’s common for most Western cultures to hide nudity and stay away from getting too detailed with discussions about sex and fertility- Kanamara Matsuri is all about praising the penis!
As a way to honor the beauty of birth and life, the Kanamara Matsuri Festival makes sure that these baby making organs are held in a place of honor.
This festival may be hard for you to imagine at first, but it’s definitely easy to celebrate just like other festivals around the world. The assumed translation of this festival name comes from the full name “The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri” which means the “Celebration of the Steel Phallus”.
History of Kanamara Matsuri
The Kanamara Matsuri is a celebration of everything good that comes with fertility, sex and birth. For one or three days, people across the world gather together in Kawasaki, Japan to celebrate the joy of life. This festival is believed to have gotten it’s start from the vikings that would celebrate the shortest day of the year. This celebration was originally a pagan one and was celebrated secretly during the religious Protestant Reformation. Following that, Kanamara Matsuri came back to light and is celebrated regularly today.
Kanamara Matsuri in Modern Times
Kanamara Matsuri of the modern era puts a huge focus on making people feel happy and welcome. Just like in many fertility celebrations, friends and families kiss or embrace to signal their warm feelings towards the miracle of life.
Today’s Kanamara Matsuri celebrations will also see the traditional sculpted penises and large phallic symbols that may be uncommon in any other part of the world, but not Kawasaki. Attendees themselves will pose with life size penises, get penis popsicles, and take pictures carrying the large pink penis. This serves as a reminder of the life giving abilities of this organ, and people that are used to censorship get a kick out of seeing so many.
The Kanamara Matsuri involves several processionals of men carrying large phallus symbols on their shoulders. They parade through the streets as people look around at all the phallic merchandise and street celebrations of fertility. This is one of the most iconic parts of Kanamara Matsuri so if you find yourself in Kawasaki, do yourself a favor and check this out!
Welcome to Kawasaki
Kanamara Matsuri is held each year in April for a few days. This festival’s modern resurrection has had quite an effect on its community. Though it is indeed a celebration of new days and new life, the generations from today have found a way to connect to it in more ways than one.
The Kanamara Matsuri Experience
While full frontal sculptural nudity may seem like a dangerous thing to celebrate to some, Kanamara Matsuri is and has always been about joyously bringing in a new season. Essentially, it is a virtual celebration of life. Kanamara Matsuri always inspires a sense of hope, new beginnings and creativity in all those involved. Many attendees and festival performers feed into this creativity and share their art and talents with the entire festival.
The day before the actual festival, there are parties all throughout the city to celebrated Kanamara Matsuri’s return. The festival begins as a procession, with a torch lit parade through the streets of Kawasaki. Family, friends, and children are all welcome to join in. Following the procession there are dances, songs, and good wishes to ring in the fertility fest.
Arriving in Kawasaki
Many that celebrate Kanamara Matsuri in Kawasaki come from all over the world. If you are traveling for this festival, fly into the nearest Airport and be sure to have a Citylink or Mega Bus booked from the airport or whatever city you are heading in from. Consider renting a bike, car, or using public transportation if you plan to explore the rest of the city throughout your stay.
Thanks to the festival, these shuttles and buses offer free service after all the festivities have finished up. Be sure to have your travel plans nailed down though, so you don’t end up stranded during the biggest fertility celebration of the year..
When it comes to planning for accommodations and lodging, be sure to do your research. Preferably, find a travel agent that can help you book the best deals and prices for hotels, flights and Kanamara Matsuri related events.
A Pagan Celebration
Most people in the Western part of the world like to celebrate life and fertility with birthdays, a night at church, prayers of a celebration with some sort of religious ties. While the modern reinstatement of Kanamara Matsuri does not have any ties upfront to any religion, many people that do celebrate the spring festival, do so on a spiritual level. However, you do not have to be Japanese, fertile, or religious at all the celebrate this holiday.
Many people outside of Kawasaki like to celebrate Kanamara Matsuri as a spring celebration or a time to appreciate the human body. In their own festivals and gatherings, people across the globe will partake in acts to welcome the arrival of a new born or celebrate sex in general. Many people still wear traditional clothing, participate in the dances and host their own feasts.
Several people across the world that celebrate Kanamara Matsuri choose to get married at this time. This period of rebirth and fertility is believed to be the most opportune time to signify their union.
Those that like to partake in the spiritual aspects of Kanamara Matsuri usually perform rituals, fasts, and prayers during this time. If you are interested in learning more about other aspects of religious Kanamara Matsuri experiences, try a quick Internet search for more information.
What to Wear for the Fertility Festival
As the celebration of life, sex, and birth lasts all day, you should prepare to dress for a sunny Spring day in Japan. Keep this in mind as you prepare to attend Kanamara Matsuri . Though it is April and Spring is in full swing, Kawasaki at night is going to be cold so bring layers, jackets, gloves, hats and anything else that will keep you from freezing.
One of the bigger parts of Kanamara Matsuri is the procession and dancing, so make sure your footwear is adequate. Try to wear closed toed shoes that will comfortably get you through the festival.
Tickets and Pricing
Tickets for this incredible fertility festival are relatively cheap. Pricing is offered online but tickets can also be purchased in person. However, due to this inexpensive pricing and the high interest level of Kanamara Matsuri , it would be wise for you to purchase your tickets in advance!
As Kanamara Matsuri itself isn’t very expensive, you will be spending most of your money on traveling, food, and hotel accommodations. Check out the festival website for all the best places to stay in the area and be sure to talk to someone who has attended before in the past.
What to Bring to the Spring Festival
Kanamara Matsuri itself has all the elements attendees need for celebration. In other words, your preparation for this festival should be fairly simple. When packing your bags, bring anything you would normally bring for a week or weekend long trip. Consider getting your currency exchanged before flying into Japan to avoid the hassle of trying to convert it while you’re actually in Kawasaki.
Additionally, make sure your passport is renewed and working months before you try to board a plane into town. Passports renewals can take a while and you don’t want to end up the night before your flight realizing you won’t be allowed on the plane. When realizing what not to take with you on your trip, use common sense.
Yes, you are going to this Spring festival that features a lot of sexual object, but please abstain from acting disrespectful or doing anything that goes against the festival rules. Try to keep the alcohol levels to a minimum.
Outside of the Festival
While you’re in Kawasaki, choose to stay a few extra days to check out the rest of the cites. Many of the local hotels and lodging areas have a two to three day minimum, so take full advantage of your trip and stay a while! Book a walking tour in Kawasaki to delve a bit further into the history of this rich community.
So whether you have been to Kawasaki before or not, Kanamara Matsuri is definitely something you need to experience for yourself at least once in your life!
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!