The shitchi-go-san festival is a ceremony to celebrate the healthy growth of a child, girls celebrate when they are 3 and 7 and boys when they are 5 years old. It is usually celebrated on November 15th but Ebi-kun's yochien is run by a Shinto shrine and the head teacher is also the Shrine priest and yesterday was also a national holiday - culture day.
I should warn you now, this post is photo heavy, just think yourself lucky you don't have to look at all 200+ pictures I took, I think I have RSI in my photo button finger!
We hired the outfit (hakama) for the day, cost us a small fortune,
we also buckled and got photos in the studio too.
In samurai times 7-5-3 ceremony was the first time when boys were allowed to wear hakama,
I am glad the studio staff dressed him, it looked like a very complicated procedure.
The weather gods were kind, it was a beautiful day, clear blue skies, no wind and quite warm,
couldn't have asked for better weather.
We wanted to get our money's worth out of the outfit so we tried taking photos in several locations,
here he is sat on a sculpture which is in the grounds of the yochien.
Not all the children wear the traditional outfits, some wear formal western style suits
or their school uniform, love the little boys shiny red suit!
Group photo, one lots of kids had already been in
for the ceremony and the other lot were waiting to go.
The girls wear a different type of kimono for each time they do it, when they are 7 they get to wear kimono with these extravagant obi for the first time. They get their faces made up and are generally pampered for the day.
Here we are in the shrine, waiting for our family to be called and blessed....
...which is obviously a bit boring for a 3 year old, I am not sure what she is doing with her omamori (good luck charm which has been blessed) all the kids got given one.
Etsuo-sensei dressed in his finest, it was quite strange seeing him all dressed up, he is usually seen in jeans and t-shirt, The two boys to the right of Ebi-kun are in his class.
The bags they are holding contain chitose ame (thousand year candy) is symbolises growth and longetivity, often the bags are decorated with cranes and turtles which both represent long life in Japan. The candy itself is similar to rock so I can't imagine it helps your teeth last long.
After the ceremony and several more photos we went for lunch and then we stopped at the prefecture budokan (martial arts centre) as daddy-ebi suggested taking some pictures in a modern setting, we could hear a lot of shouting going on so we went to take a look, there was a big karate tournament going on.
The building is amazing, I have never been before, it is modern but they have used the aspects of traditional budokans in the design.
Ebi-kun did really well, especially considering he is still sick,
in fact he didn't want to take the hakama back, he even
managed to walk in zori all day!
and that is all folks.....