children's day in Japan


In 1948, the 5th of May was established the “National Holidays Act” as a national holiday “Children’s Day”.

The festive date came from Chinese seasonal festivals Sekku 節句 (festivals). There are five festivals in a year and we pray for a disease and disaster-free when the seasons change by present offerings and decorate with seasonal decorations.

The customs were brought to Japan in the Nara period (AD710 to 794).

It was after the Kamakura period (AD1185 to 1333) that the boy’s festival became the event on the 5th of May.

How do we celebrate the 5th of May in Japan?

Decorate Koinobori こいのぼり (banner with a picture of the carp) in outside. There is a fable that a fish that climbs up the Ryumon waterfall becomes a dragon. Many fish tried, but all failed except the carp was able to successfully climb up and became a dragon. This is a story behind why carp is valued as a symbol of success in life.

The customs of raising the banner when the boy was born started with the shogunate class. It gradually spread to the samurai and the common people in the Edo period (AD1603 to1868). “Koi-nobori” was originated when wealthy but low-ranking merchants began to decorate the streamers with a picture of the carp.

Decorate Kabuto 兜 (helmet) in inside The samurai used to decorate their armour and helmet to dry the insects before the rainy season. This custom became a decoration of the boy’s festival which prays for the safe growth of boys and the prosperity of their families.

Eat Kashiwa-mochi 柏餅 Kashiwa-mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet made from a sticky rice cake filled with red bean paste and wrapped in a folded oak leaf. The leaves of the oak tree will not fall until new shoots emerge. Therefore it was believed that eating Kashiwa-mochi will keep your family line continue.

Take a bath with Ayame 菖蒲 (Iris) People used Irises not only as a herbal medicine but also to get rid of evil spirits and protect children. The iris stalk contains blood circulation promoting ingredients. Taking a bath with irises is effective for releasing back pain and stiff shoulders. The unique scent has a relaxing effect.