Valentine’s Day in Japan is a day where girls give chocolate and other baked confectionaries to their significant other or the guy they’re crushing on. But what do girls get out of it, you might ask? A month later, on March 14th, is when guys are supposed to offer up something in return. That usually means some sweets they’ve bought from a department store or a hot date.
Personally I prefer the American style way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but because Mr. J and I didn’t have any time to spend the day of, we both had the weekend after White Day off, and so Mr. J promised to take me out somewhere then.
The Kanamara Matsuri, or what you may have heard foreigners reference as “The Penis Festival”, is a Shinto-based festival celebrating, you guessed it… the penis! The festival is observed every first Sunday in April, with this year’s date falling on April 6, 2014.
Traditionally, the festival is based on the folk lore tale of a woman with a demon living in her hoo-ha that bit off the manhood of her husband on their consummation night. After re-marrying and her second husband also being castrated in the same manner, she engaged a local blacksmith to forge a steel phallus in order to trick the demon into biting the fake penis instead, thus breaking his teeth upon it. The steel phallus then came into the possession of the Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine, located near Kawasaki Daishi station on the Kawasaki Daishi line, a Shinto shrine that celebrates the god of sexual organs and reproductive health. In the past, the shrine was well visited among sex trade workers praying against disease, but today is revered by the LGTB community and couples praying for a child, as one of the last remaining fertility shrines in Japan.