Kodomo no Hi

Kodomo no Hi

“Kodomo No Hi” is actually “Children’s Day” in Japanese and theAsianparent will be giving you a dosage of how Children’s Day is celebrated in Japan.

Kodomo No Hi !


Children’s Day isn’t just a day that was cooked up so that kids could get a day off from school. It is a day meant to commemorate the respect that one should have for children and also to celebrate their happiness.

Well, I’m a bundle of jumping joy too. How come no one’s putting aside a day called “Adult’s Day”?

Here’s the justification. A kid rolls around in his cot and drools all over himself. He then has his play -time by rolling on the floor pretending to be a little puppy. Now that’s happiness in its purest form. With no worry or negativity contaminating his or her behaviors.

Second thought. Now in place of ‘kid’, fill up that paragraph with ‘adult’. It most certainly would not come off a ‘cute’. It would come off as an adult gone cuckoo.

The point here is , the only time you were allowed to be yourself or let your personality shine at it’s brightest, was when you were a kid. It’s children’s innocence, honesty and purity that we celebrate for children’s day.

So what’s with ‘Kodomo No Hi’? No, we are not an advertisement for Kodomo baby shampoo. We are not asking ‘Kodomo’ why they didn’t greet us either.

“Kodomo No Hi” is actually  “Children’s Day” in Japanese. TheAsianparent will be giving you a dosage of how Children’s Day is celebrated in Japan.

The ‘sushi’ is yummy, the ‘anime’ is great, the ‘wasabi’ is smoking hot and the technology, let’s just say that even Japan’s latest supermodel is a robot.

It really comes as no surprise that Children’s Day in Japan is celebrated in the most festive and unique way as compared to anywhere else around the globe.

Children’s Day was originally celebrated as the Boy’s Festival and is also one of the most popularly celebrated holidays in Japan. It is now changed to suit both genders to suit the politically correct thinking of recent times.

Boy’s Day traditions are still carried out though. So what happens on Children’s Day in Japan?




Fish take to the skies

To drive away bad spirits and to celebrate the future of their children, families hoist koinobori (cloth carp streamers) from balconies and flagpoles.

Koi Carp streamers represent the tales of strength, stamina and drive of the carp as it swims upstream against the flow of the river current.

Koinobori - The carp streamers are arranged in a manner that the head of the family is placed at the top.

It also serves as an expression of the family wish that their children will grow up strong and be able to successfully face the challenges that life will bring.

As you can see, the largest fish represents the head of the family, while the smallest would most probably represent the youngest child. Blue is usually used to represent the youngest in the family.

Doll me up


Kintaro dolls are usually put on display indoors on children’s day.

Kintaro is a Japanese folk hero. Stories have been written about his superior strength, bravery and his rise to the status of a famous warrior as an adult. With all the build up on his strength and bravery, you must be thinking that Kintaro has a really bushy moustache and grouch eyebrows. On the contrary, Kintaro actually looks very cute. Take a look for yourself.

A Kintaro doll put on display indoors.

Lets hope Kintaro does not appear in my dreams to throw a punch at my face for calling him cute.



“Nom Nom’s”

Kashiwamochi is a customary food that is eaten on Children’s Day in Japan.

To make mochi, one has to take cooked rice and pound it until it becomes a sticky pulp. Sounds easy. But it certainly is not, as it can take hours to reach the correct consistency.

The process of pounding the rice to make mochi

The mochi (sticky rice) is then used to form a rice cake, which is stuffed with yam paste and wrapped in oak leaves.

Kashiwamochi wrapped in Oak leaves

Chimaki (a dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves) is also eaten.

Chimaki wrapped in bamboo leaves

Bath Time

Syobuyu is the bath that families take on Children’s Day. These hot baths are sprinkled with iris leaves and roots. This is because the iris is thought to promote good health and ward off evil.

Syobuyu is the bath which families take on Children's day . It is sprinkled with iris leaves and roots

Iris leaves were also believed to have the mysterious power of extinguishing fire and for this reason, in rural areas today, people still use iris leaves as a talisman against the possible outbreak of a fire or presence of evil spirits.

Carp, Samurai’s, irises, oak trees and bamboos. What’s the link? All of these items symbolize strength and are therefore used in abundance on Children’s Day. No one messes with nature.

I am child. Hear me roar!

A more recent event that has come to be celebrated on “Kodomo no Hi” is the Children’s Day Olympics at the National Kasumigaoka Stadium. This is a big event and even includes a torch ceremony at the beginning of the games.

Japan sure knows how to party.

Other than all the funky Japanese words, what do we learn from the Japanese celebrating Children’s Day?

The Children's Olympics held on Kodomo No Hi

All these customs and traditions that are repeated year after year are performed to stress the importance of respecting the character of children and promoting their happiness and health.  They remind themselves, that the greatest lessons can be learnt from children, and even the most courageous personality can be found in the smallest of forms. Children.

Happy Children's Day !

TheAsianparent wishes you a Happy Children’s Day!!

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Written by

Miss Vanda

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