A penis festival in Japan has once again attracted tens of thousands of visitors who took to the streets with penis lollipops, noses, signs and headwear – along with a huge ceremonial phallus.

The Kanamara festival is celebrated on the first Sunday of April in Kawasaki – a city between Tokyo and Yokohama on the largest Japanese island of Honshu – and raises money for HIV research.


KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains suggestive content.) A man wear a phallic-shaped hat during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 1, 2018 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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First held in 1969, the celebratory march takes place at the Kanayama Shrine to pay tribute to the legend of the steel phallus.

The 17th-century tale of death and the supernatural describes a demon hiding inside the vagina of a woman he loved but could never be with.

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains suggestive content.) A woman eats a phallic-shaped lollipop during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 1, 2018 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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After the creature had bitten her first two husbands’ penises off, the woman enlisted a blacksmith’s help to create a metal dildo.

After the sex toy was thrust inside the woman, her demon bit down, broke its teeth, and was vanquished.

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains suggestive content.) A tourist poses for a photograph next to a large pink phallic-shaped 'Mikoshi' before it is paraded through the streets during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 1, 2018 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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In honour of the story, a three-foot steel phallus can now be found in the shrine’s courtyard.

Prostitutes have traditionally approached the statue with prayers against sexually transmitted infections.

And the festival which sprung from the legend, held this year on April 1, is a glorious, good-natured celebration of the penis.

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - APRIL 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains suggestive content.) A large pink phallic-shaped 'Mikoshi' is paraded through the streets during Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) on April 1, 2018 in Kawasaki, Japan. The Kanamara Festival is held annually on the first Sunday of April. The penis is the central theme of the festival, focused at the local penis-venerating shrine which was once frequented by prostitutes who came to pray for business prosperity and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Today the festival has become a popular tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV awareness and research. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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Earlier this week, same-sex couples living in Fukuoka, a Japanese city of 1.5 million people, were able for the first time to have their partnerships recognised by law.

The city, on the northern coast of the island of Kyushu, was the second-biggest in the country to recognise same-sex partners.

Last year, Sapporo became the first major city in Japan to issue official partnership vow papers to those who wish to enter a legal same-sex union.

Japanese actress Akane Sugimori (R) and her partner Ayaka Ichinose, both dressed in white, display their wedding rings at a press conference after their marriage ceremony in Tokyo on April 19, 2015. The lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony in Tokyo, as calls grow for Japan to legalise same-sex marriage. While their marriage will not be recognised under law, actresses Ichinose, 34, and Sugimori, 28 tied the knot in front of some 80 relatives and friends. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Seven cities and wards in the country have now legalised same-sex partnerships.

In January, the Japanese Government ordered hoteliers to stop discriminating against LGBT+ guests. The Ministry of Health reminded hotels that refusing guests because of their sexuality or gender identity would breach anti-discrimination laws.

Last year, it was revealed that children in Japan will not be taught about LGBT issues for at least 10 years after the government decided against including it in the curriculum.

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But a record number of people attended Tokyo Pride, following a series of steps towards LGBT equality in the country.

For the first time last year, the country legislated to protect against bullying based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

(Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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The country has seen its first trans man elected into public office, as Tomoya Hosoda was voted in as a councillor in the city of Iruma.

And a city in Japan became the first to recognise a first same-sex couple as foster parents, last year, with a gay couple in Osaka officially fostering a teenage boy.




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