These are the 17 best photos from Japan’s amazing annual penis festival

Tens of thousands of people have flooded the streets in Japan for a penis festival, bringing giant phallic statues, candles, chocolates and key chains.

The Kanamara Festival, first held in 1969, is an annual celebration of the legend of the steel phallus.

The festival, which is celebrated on the first Sunday of April in Kawasaki – a city between Tokyo and Yokohama, on Honshu – also raises money for HIV research.

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.

After the creature had bitten her first two husbands’ penises off, the woman enlisted a blacksmith’s help to create a metal phallus.

The demon bit down, broke its teeth, and was vanquished.

The resultant event is a glorious, hilarious celebration of the penis.

With further ado, here are some pictures of one of the best festivals around.

And finally, a bonus GIF that’s definitely NSFW.

In the last few months, Japan has seen several steps towards LGBT equality.

March saw the first trans man to be elected to public office in the country, as well as a national policy which protects against anti-LGBT bullying for the first time.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, but nevertheless, the first surviving same-sex spousal benefit application was filed in the country earlier this year.

And from June, Sapporo, a city with nearly two million people, will become the largest in the country to issue formal recognition to same-sex couples.

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