What is Seijin-no-hi?
Seijin-no-hi – also known as Coming of Age Day – is a Japanese national holiday that’s held on the second Monday of January each year. Honoring all those who turned 20 in the past year, this colourful celebration proudly marks the day that Japanese youngsters legally become adults! While this may seem quite a late entry in to adulthood by Western standards, it’s a jubilant occasion that’s only been celebrated since 1948.
How is Seijin-no-hi celebrated?
Probably the most notable aspect of Sejin-no-hi from an outside perspective is the sheer amount of colour involved! Hordes of young women clad in gorgeous (and expensive) rental kimono are an eye-catching sight all over Japan on this special day. These exquisitely detailed, long-sleeved kimono (called furisodes) are usually combined with elaborate hairstyles and traditional zori sandals. Some young women can spend up to one million yen on their outfit, and for the girls at least Seijin-no-hi is a day that’s very much about bagging plenty of photos and feeling like a celebrity for the day!
While the girls may be the ones to rock-the-socks-off the festivities, that certainly doesn’t mean the guys fail to impress. Traditionally young men dressed in formal Hakama for Seijin-no-hi, though in the modern-day this is steadily getting replaced with suits. But this certainly isn’t to say that young men dressed in Hakama aren’t still a common sight on the day.
This dazzling formal get-up isn’t the entirety of the celebrations however; they’re just the beginning! Sejin-no-hi is formally marked by a ceremony known as Seijin Shiki, which are held at the local city office of each ward. During these ceremonies speeches are given by government officials, and gifts are handed out to the newly recognised adults.
Once the formalities are over these fully fledged adults will usually visit local shrines, before heading off to embrace their new freedoms! Parties, trips to local Izakaya’s (taverns) and shopping trips are popular ways people choose to let their hair down following the ceremony. Special events held at popular theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland are increasingly drawing people in, as attractions cash in on the money-making potential of the holiday.
How can I attend Seijin-no-hi?
While tourists obviously can’t participate in the actual ceremony, you can certainly enjoy spotting some exquisitely dressed youngsters and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere! Those hoping to witness the celebrations and perhaps nab some stunning photographs should head bigger wards like Shibuya or Shinjuku, where a higher concentration of people attend. In big city areas like this food stalls and street performers also have a tendency to pop up for Sejin-no-hi, so there’s plenty to see and do! Many local photographers and camera crews also typically flock to record the event, so just remember that it will likely be busy and to be respectful and unintrusive at all times.
What’s the best festival you’ve ever attended? Do let me know in the comments!
And if you’re visiting Japan this year, why not check out my post 30 Top Tips For Travelling To Japan? Covering everything from where to go to what to eat, there’s advice for every aspect of your trip!
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