Japan festivals: naked done, penis coming soon

naked festival penis coming soon
Image: @mykampusradio/Twitter

The 2020 Japanese festival calendar sees the most famous of the annual naked festivals over for another year. However, there’s still lots of fun with the Festival of the Steel Phallus, or penis, coming soon.

Japan’s Naked Festival

10,000 plus men braved cold weather last Saturday to strip almost naked for the annual Naked Festival on Honshu Island. The event takes place on the third Saturday of every February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple.

Dressed in nothing more than a Japanese loincloth called a ‘fundoshi’, the men run around the temple grounds for a couple of hours before the ceremony. They also purify themselves with freezing cold water, before packing into the temple.

At 10 p.m., the lights go out and a priest throws 100 bundles of twigs and two lucky sticks into the crowd.

The 10,000 plus men compete for the bundles of twigs and the two lucky sticks. According to local legend, those who win possession are guaranteed good luck for the following year.

Each year, participants emerge injured with cuts, bruises and sprains.


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Festival of Steel Phallus (or penis) coming soon

With the naked festival done and dusted, April sees the annual Festival of the Steel Phallus, aka the Penis Festival.

Held every April at Kawasaki, the festival celebrates the penis and fertility. People parade gigantic phallic-shaped shrines through the streets. Revellers ride penis-shaped floats, suck on penis lollipops, wear penises in every shape, size and colour and generally go crazy for penis.

The festival originated in the 17th century, when sex workers visited the shrine to pray for protection against sexually transmitted infections.

In the modern era, the festival morphed into raising awareness about safe sex. It also fundraises for HIV prevention.


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