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Celebrating The Phallus And Other Weird Japanese Festivals

The festival season is here! So let’s have a look what festivals around the world look like. Japan is an awesome destination for festivals. There are approximately 200.000 Japanese festivals and we highlight five together with Simone, a journalist living in Japan. She joins us to enlighten us on some strange annual activities in Japan… Hey.. Only in Japan.

She names:

  • Kanamara Matsuri: which means the iron phallus festival. This is a fertility festival, that celebrates not only literally manly fertility by having nearly everything shaped as a penis, but also agriculture fertility.
  • Hadaka Matsuri: the “naked man festival”. Where men cleanse themselves by washing in ice cold natural water.
  • Hinamatsuri: a traditional festival of floating away the dolls in rivers to get rid of bad spirits.
  • YabuSame: a young boy is trained to ride a horse and shoot an arrow, and his success in hitting targets, predicts the success of the harvest.
  • Takanabe Lantern Festival: It’s held at an old castle, which is decorated with thousands of lanterns to celebrate the teachings of the warrior who owned the castle, Taneshige Akizuki.

For more extreme, weird, strange, beautiful and traditional festivals in Japans, look here, here and here.

Simone Armer

Simone Armer

Simone is born New York, raised in Johannesburg, educated in Grahamstown and now working as a teacher in Japan. You can follow the stories of this journalist in photos and written content on

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