Shichigosan At Meiji Jingu

On a Sunday closest to November 15, considered the most auspicious day in the Japanese calender, families descend on Shinto shrines across Japan, to celebrate a rite of passage called Shichi-go-san.

The name literally translates to ‘Seven-Five-Three’, indicating a medieval tradition among aristocratic/Samurai families that stipulated that boys and girl stopped getting their hair shaved when they turned three, that boys aged five put on Hakama for the first time in public, and  that girls aged seven began using obi sash to tie their kimono, instead of cords.

Today it is more a joyous celebration and thanksgiving for the gift of children, and a time to offer prayers for their health, longevity and success in life. What serendipity to have visited the Meiji Jingu shrine on such an auspicious and festive day!

You might remember the wedding ceremonies I featured earlier, as well as the joyous father with his newborn from a couple of weeks ago. Here are more happy families in all their traditional finery:

Thank you for visiting, and have a great weekend.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

89 thoughts on “Shichigosan At Meiji Jingu

  1. Well! I was certain that I commented on these beautiful children in their finery. I guess I didn’t hit “post” as often happens in the Mad Cow World… I loved this post! What a delight it is, Madhu!

    When I visit, I try to read backwards from your last post to the place where I stopped at my last visit. I enjoy reading your work that way. It allows me to get into the feel of your adventures! 🙂

  2. Fascinating how Japan has a good number of special days for the youth. It’s really nice to know their culture now that I easily caught up and understand what’s the post’s all about.

  3. konnichiwa, Madhu-san! 🙂 I’ve been to Japan 4 times and I deeply miss this country… my very best and sayonara! Merani-san 🙂

  4. It’s interesting to note the ages at which various cultures place their milestones. Obviously three, five and seven are “growing up times” in traditional Japanese culture. I’ve experienced ages three and five and they seem to be wisely chosen from a developmental point of view – and I’ve been told great things about seven!

    It would be great to have a ceremony to help the children appreciate their maturity and signal expectations more firmly.

    1. My daughter claims she wishes she could turn back the clock at every milestone! I tell her it is just hindsight. Just back from an extended weekend with them, that started out by my thinking how much I miss having young children at home, and ended with huge relief that I don’t 😀

  5. Madhu, wonderful post – such a beautiful and respectful photos – and the little boy that is showing of his beautiful kimono for you. The little boy in his hat and short pants he steals the show for me. What a fantastic event – you where able to share with us. Thank you so much. Love your new look … *smile

    1. Thank you for your always generous support Viveka. much appreciated, really. Hope all your aches and pains are behaving 🙂

  6. Great post Madhu. Knew nothing about Shichi-go-san. Thanks for sharing the information and the lovely photographs!

    I love the new magazine-like look of The Urge to Wander! Beautiful theme.

    1. Many thanks Uday. You don’t think the new look is too busy? Hard to decide which photo will work best for the background. Trial and error is too time consuming 🙂

  7. HAPPY 2014 Madhu! WOW! YOur new website looks amazing! What a fantastic post! I have seen these ceremonies in person and you’ve captured the essence of the celebrations beautifully! Cheers to another wonderful year of exciting travels to you!!!

  8. It’s amazing what you do with pictures and places, Madhu. I simply love how you make it come alive.

    Hope you have been well and traveling in color!

    with a hug (and a bow!) 🙂

    1. The little ones were adorable and so well behaved! I was surprised by how willing they were to be photographed!

  9. What gorgeous outfits. I love the little girls in their bright colors. The only time I wore a kimono was when I was working at a high school prom. One of my fellow students loaned me his Mom’s kimono and it had an obi sash. It was beautiful.

  10. Oh to be able to dress like this just once! I remember when I was young a neighbour dressed me in a beautiful sari and I felt like a queen, I wish I had a photo 🙂

    1. A number of our travelmates dressed up in kimonos and walked with a Geisha in Kyoto Gilly. My sister and I passed and went exploring. I shall remember to get you a sari, if and when we meet 🙂

      1. Fantastic! When I was in India I bought several salwars and have worn them here a few times, but for travel around Rajasthan a sari just wasn’t practical for a novice to try wearing. Can you imagine it? I’d be coming apart all the time 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. Oh wow! So beautiful and colourful Madhu! Love the colours and clothes and they are all so beautiful! Stunning shots hon and thanks for sharing. 😀 *hugs*

  12. How special this ceremony for girls and boys, this culture really honors their children in such a wonderful way of celebration. Thank you for sharing your great images. This year I am planning to go to Japan, between Tokyo going to Rissho kosei kai and Kyoto , any suggestions of what I need to see? Thank you

    1. Loads to see, especially in Kyoto Cornelia. I wished I had more time there. Shall try and mail you some links. Which part of the year will you be visiting?

    1. Happy you did George. I was worried the new theme was a bit too ‘busy’, but everyone seems to like it, so I guess it is fine 🙂 Thank you for stopping by.

    1. They are. I did a close up of some exquisitely embroidered cranes on a brides dress in the wedding post. Appreciate your visit and comment Pianoleader.

    1. Not too sure, but it certainly looked like it Colline. They were all beautiful. Am regretting not having bought one for myself. The quality stuff was far too expensive.

    1. Thank you Julian. Japan is a fascinating country. Would love to revisit in spring someday to witness the cherry blossoms.

  13. How fortunate to be there on an auspicious day, to see first hand these families honoring their children. The child in the hat is adorable.

  14. Oh, how marvelous, Mahdu! In Mexico they celebrate the day of the child. I remember being accidentally amid throngs of the big celebration before I knew about it. 🙂

    1. Isn’t it wonderful when that happens? We got to witness an entire wedding ceremony as well!
      Wishing you all the best for 2014 Riba. Have been terribly tied up with personal commitments. Hope to be able to catch up with my blog reading and comments soon. Take care 🙂

      1. Oh, please—never have any worries about that on my account, Madhu! I’m just always glad when you do “stop by.” And yes, the day of the child celebration was a neat, unexpected thing. It was my first visit to Guadalajara, and I was quite charmed. The big crowds didn’t bother me the way they would in the United States. 😉

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