Let’s Celebrate Children’s Day!

Children's Day

Children’s Day is right around the corner on 5th May! Celebrated in honour of boys, much in the same way Hina Matsuri is celebrated for girls, the celebrations for Children’s Day have a long history. Learn all about Japan’s Children’s Day fun and traditions here.

Also known as Tango no Sekku or Feast of Banners, Children’s Day has long been held to wish for the health and success of young boys. Although boys don’t get 5th May all to themselves anymore, it’s also a national holiday now too, unlike Hina Matsuri. This just goes to prove the favourite axiom of parents everywhere, it’s better to share!

Colourful Koinobori

Carp Streamers Flying

If you’ve ever visited Japan in April or May you may have been lucky enough to spot these fishy fellas flying above homes across Japan. A symbol of strength, health, courage and success these colourful decorations are flown in honour of boys in the family with number of fish usually corresponding to the number of sons plus dad (and sometimes mum too!). These streamers have a wealth of cultural associations attached to them.

In Chinese mythology there are stories about a carp that tried so hard swimming upstream it eventually turned into a dragon, and these carp look just like they’re swimming too! Children’s Day also has strong historical ties to samurai values, and some families display hand painted banners with family crests echoing those worn by historical Japanese soldiers. If you’re a bit crafty, you could try making your own papercraft carp streamers. Find out how here.


Cool Kabuto

Kabuto Decoration for Children's Day

Another awesome Children’s Day decoration is the kabutoPatterned after traditional samurai armour kabuto helmets, these displays can include a full set of armour, not just the hat! However these days most people don’t have the room (or money) for such luxurious displays. If you want to create your own kabuto, you can make an origami one with newspaper! For more info click here.

Charming Kashiwa Mochi

Yummy Kashiwa Mochi

A traditional snack on Children’s Day, kashiwa mochi is made from deliciously chewy glutinous rice wrapped around red bean paste and covered in an oak leaf. If you’d like to make your own kashiwa mochi, check out our handy recipe.

Jawsome Kintaro

A True Baller Kintaro's Ride is a Bear!

Ok, so we ran out of fun adjectives that start with ‘c’, but this is Children’s Day! Kids love ferocious creatures: dinosaurs, sharks, tigers! They’re all in! So we declare Kintaro officially JAWSOME. According to some legends Kintaro was raised on Mt. Ashigara (on the border of modern day Shizuoka and Hakone prefectures) by a mountain witch. With fantastic strength, a friend to animals of the mountain, and a formidable foe to demons and monsters, it’s no surprise that dolls of his likeness are displayed in homes on Children’s Day.

Want your kids to turn into metaphorical (we hope) dragons? Want to celebrate with some cool limited edition Children’s Day candy? Head down to Japan Centre and unleash your inner bear riding, upstream swimming self.

Taro Koi Rice Crackers Tirol Blue Koinobori Strawberry Choco Black Koinobori Carp Festival Flag
Taro Koi Rice Crackers Tirol Choco Blue Carp Strawberry Biscuit Chocolate Do Black Flag Carps Like Punk?

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Thanks to norimutsu nogami at flickr for the image of Kintaro on a bear.
Thanks to C Smith at flickr for the image of the kabuto display.