Japanese Calendar Holidays & Festivals

Seven-Five-Three  (shichi go san)  National Celebration



Kids. We love 'em, right? Yeah, uh-huh, right. So, to accommodate these growing, squealing, runny-nosed bundles of joy, most cultures set aside special holidays just for children. Well, Japan is no exception, and there are actually several annual celebrations to help parents remember what they got themselves into.

On March 3rd (3-3) is the Doll Festival, for girls. On May 5th (5-5), is the Boys' Festival/Children's Day. On July 7th (7-7), is Tanabata, a romantic meeting of the stars. There's a pattern here: 3, 5, 7.

November 15th, is the annual culmination of this series of festivals. Children's Shrine-Visiting Day, (Shichi-go-san - literally: 7, 5, 3) is celebrated throughout Japan, as parents dress their youngsters in finest ceremonial kimonos and bring them to local shrines - particularly true if the child has turned: 3, 5, or 7, this year.

The best weekends to visit a local shrine (every one will be crowded) will be Nov. 16-17 & 23-24. The event will be solemn yet happy, and (most of) the children will be on their best behavior. (Paul Abramson)

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