Japan's Annual Penis Festival Is As Phallic As You'd Expect (PHOTOS)

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Each spring, people flock to Kawasaki, Japan, to celebrate Kanamara Matsuri, aka the "Festival of the Steel Phallus."

Held this year on April 6, the festival is a celebration of the penis and fertility. People parade gigantic phallic-shaped mikoshi (portable Shinto shrines) down the streets during the event, as revelers suck on penis lollipops, buy penis-themed memorabilia and pose with sculptures in the shape of -- you guessed it -- penises.

According to the BBC, the festival is believed to have roots in the 17th century, when prostitutes are said to have prayed for protection from sexually transmitted infections at Kawasaki's Kanamara shrine.

Today, the festival reportedly raises awareness about safe sex practices and fundraises for HIV prevention.

Scroll down to see the (somewhat NSFW) photographs of this year's Kanamara Matsuri:

  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    Women and men dressed as women parade a large pink phallic-shaped mikoshi (a portable Shinto shrine) through the streets.
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    Women pose for a photograph as they munch on phallic-shaped lollipops.
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    A man buys a phallic-shaped candle at the Wakamiya Hachimangu shrine.
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    People sing and dance as they carry a large black phallic-shaped mikoshi through the streets.
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    A woman poses for photographers as she straddles a large wooden phallic sculpture.
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    A woman wears a phallic-shaped mask as friends eat phallic-shaped lollipops at the Wakamiya Hachimangu shrine
  • Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    People gathered at the Wakamiya Hachimangu shrine during Kanamara Matsuri.