Children's Day in japan, Best Living Japan

Koinobori – Learn, Go, Make! – May Fun

Koinobori: Best Living Japan Children's DayI love seeing the growing schools of koinobori swimming in the city sky this time of year. Do you have a koinobori (carp streamer)? I love the colors, the movement and the symbolism. The carp streamers are hung in celebration of Children’s Day which is May 5th.   If you have children in the house, the carp streamers are fun to buy and decorate with, or make yourself. I was curious about the symbolism and history of koinobori so did some research. I hope you find the information on the history, where to go and what to make helpful, interesting and fun!

Koinobori – Learn, Go, Make

Symbolism and History

A typical koinobori set consists of, from the top of the pole down, a pair of wheels with a Best Living Japan Children's Dayball-shaped spinning vane, flying streamers and then carp streamers. The first koi is always black and symbolises the father, the second is red and symbolises the mother (in ancient times it symbolised the first son, but mom has #2 spot now), then every son in the house gets a carp streamer usually in the color order of blue, green, purple and orange.  Girls are traditionally not included in the koi; instead girls get dolls on Girls Day. However, some more progressive sets can include a pink koi. The Koi range from a few inches long to a few meters long.

The carp was chosen as a symbol for Boys’ Day because it is considered the most spirited and powerful fish which swims up current with a clear goal. Makes sense to me – who wants a child who is not strong and determined.  Supposedly the tradition of celebrating Boy’s Day with carp and kabuto started more than 700 years ago. Although it is not clear why the tradition of koinobori started, it is believed to have originated from the samurai battle banners and in celebration of great battles. The  May 5th celebration although called “Children’s Day” is really only a celebration for boys. Girls Day is March 3rd. 

Koinobori Best Living JapanIf you would like to see some great swarms of koinobori in Tokyo, I recommend you visit Tokyo Tower, which has 333 koinobori flying util May 6th. Each koinobori represents one meter of Tokyo tower. If you live in central Tokyo, this is the best spot to visit. Details: Tokyo Tower is open from 9:00 – 22:00 and there is no cost to see the koinobori that are mainly strung over the parking area. The address is 4-2-8  Shiba-koen, Minato-ku, and the phone is 03-3433-5111. website: 

Roppongi Midtown also has a wonderful tunnel of hanging Koinobori as you approach 21-21 Design Sight. Super fun to walk under such a family of Koi in bright cool designs.  The Sky Tree area also has a beautiful display. If you have time to travel about an hour outside of Tokyo you can go to the Sagamihara Koinobori Festival, Kanagawa-ken (April 29 – May 5th) – The Sagamihara Koinobori Festival (泳げ鯉のぼり相模川) has been held over 30 years to Boys Day Best Living Japancelebrate Children’s Day on May 5th. Five huge wires are hooked over the river and 1,000 koi nobori are hung to swim in the sky.  You can get to Sagamihara in about 1.5 hours driving from central Tokyo or 2 hours on train. Location of the koinobori are here (google map). While in the area you can also visit the Sagamigawa Fureai Science Museum Aquarium Sagamihara.


Cool things to buy! – all available at

Mini koinobori set (about 4,000 yen) – This set is the perfect size for an apartment. The pole is about one meter and includes three koi.

 Koinobori display set (2,700 yen) – if you do not want to hang some fish out your window this little (21 cm X 15 cm) display is perfect for your shelf or table. Beautifully made and perfect to keep as a keepsake.
Genkinioyoge koinobori book (1,296 yen) – This Japanese book is great for early readers of Japanese, cute story and jolly illustrations.
Make your own koinobori (about 3,000 yen) – This is a very cool product! Design you own koi set–  1.8 meter plain white koinobori that you then decorate as you wish. Click on this link and see the second image to understand what the plain white version will look like when it arrives (the image above is one that has been decorated).

Cool things to make!

Children's Day, Flying FishLove these adorable koinobori you can make out of toilet paper rolls. See how to make them at 

Japanese Children's DayGreat art project using plastic bottles. Make one of these for everyone in your family! Details on how to make are at

Japanese Children's Day Cake

Celebrate Children’s Day on May 5th with a cute Koi cake. This design is from Nyank-kitchen blog (only in Japanese but pictures very clear).


Some lovely shots from Instagram!

View this post on Instagram

* * * 鯉のぼりパイ???? おやつに作ったこどもの日プレート♡ * パイシートを鯉のぼりの形に切って焼いただけの簡単おやつ♡ パイの上にカスタードクリームを塗って 薄くスライスしたフルーツでウロコ模様に飾り付け♡ お目めをつけて完成???? しっぽの部分で切り取られる三角の部分を使ってミニ兜パイも♡ * * 簡単に可愛く作れるのに子供たち喜んで食べてくれたので満足( •̤ᴗ•̤ )♥️ * * 残すGWもあとちょっと????✨ 今日からは函館✨ ずーっと動き続けているから既に体力の限界がきている???? あーんど Theデブエット週間✨ やばばばばばー???????????????? * * * #子供の日#こどもの日 #こどもの日プレート #鯉のぼりパイ #鯉のぼり#鯉のぼりケーキ #パイアート#兜#端午の節句 #手作りお菓子#お菓子作り#お菓子づくり#手作りスイーツ #locari_kitchen #KURASHIRU #deristagrammer #パティシエカメラ部#lin_stagrammer#フーディーテーブル #おうちごはんlover #コッタ#wp_deli_japan #cotta#ouchigohan #snapdish

A post shared by KANA (@kanas_cafe_kitchen) on

View this post on Instagram

. @japan_great_view is very Happy to present . . ????BEST PHOTO OF THE DAY ???? . . ????????????CONGRATULATION???????????? – ☆PHOTO BY @sumichin4912. . ☆SELECTED @_shonan_taka_1984 . . ????Tag …. #jgrv_sumichin4912. . ????Visit its beautiful Gallery???? . . とても素敵な写真をシェアして頂き ありがとうございます???? . これからも素敵な写真お待ちしております???? . – ????HUB … @japan_great_view ????Tag …. #japan_great_view . ????Cooperation HUB???? ???? @a_cbloggers #a_cbloggers. . ????@japan_bestsunset #japan_bestsunset . . ????@super_japan_channel #super_japan_channel . . ???? @super_night_channel #super_night_channel . . ????@west_japan_street_photo_club #wj_street_photo_club. . #ダレカニミセタイケシキ #写真が好きな人と繋がりたい #ファインダー越しの私の世界 #instagood #instalike #instajapan #景色 #空 #鯉のぼり #スカイツリー #東京 #日本

A post shared by ???????? ???????????????????? ???????????????????? ???????????????? ???????? (@japan_great_view) on

View this post on Instagram

・Presents ・ ????????BEST PHOTO OF THE DAY???????? ・ ✨????Congratulations????✨ ・ PHOTOGRAPHER | @kouki.1974 April 28, 2019 ・ とても素敵な写真をシェアして頂き ありがとうございます???????????? ・ ・ ???????????????????????????????????????? ・ SELECTED BY | @takiti7 @Love_bestjapan #love_bestjapan ・ ・ ???????????????????????????????????????? #love_bestjapan_kouki_1974 ・ ・ ・ ????Group HUB???? @edit_artpics・ @special_spot_・ ・ ????Friends HUB???? @invisible_cool_part ・ @happy_rainbowclub · @ap_japan · @ultra_wide_apj · @edit_a_cbloggers ・ ・ ・ ・ ☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚ ・︎ 日本国内で撮られた素敵な写真をお待ちしてます ・ ☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚☆︎.。.:*・゚ ・ ✽+†+✽――✽+†+✽――✽+†+✽ ・ ????盗用は絶対禁止‼️???? ????盗用及び無断転載使用は著作権侵害に抵触する犯罪です???? ????A misappropriation, reproduction without permission, ‼️ ????misappropriation absolutely prohibited in it, reproduction use without permission are crimes in conflict with a copyright infringement???? 如何なる事象が発生しようとも当HUBでは一切の責任は負いません。 ・ ✽+†+✽――✽+†+✽――✽+†+✽ ・ ・ #LBJ_selection #loves_japan #ファインダー越しの私の世界 #ファインダー越しの世界 #ファインダー越シノ私ノ世界 #ファインダーは私のキャンパス #ダレカニミセタイケシキ #japan #日本 #写真撮ってる人と繋がりたい #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #写真を撮るのが好きな人と繋がりたい #写真で伝えたい私の世界 #写真は心のシャッター #カメラ男子 #カメラ女子 #岩手県 #鯉のぼり

A post shared by Love bestjapan®︎ (@love_bestjapan) on



Living in or visiting Japan with Kids? Here are our favorite holidays and celebrations you should know about in Japan!

January – Coming of Age Day – Celebration of Adulthood for people becoming 18-20.

FebruarySetsubun – Devil Day

MarchGirls Day and White Day

MayBoys Day or Kids Day



OctoberSports Day


DecemberNew Years Celebration

Shichi-Go-San Celebrations


Koinobori – Learn, Go, Make!

Did you enjoy this article? If yes, please sign-up for the Best Living Japan newsletter so you don’t miss any great info. It is easy to sign-up just click here, and enter your email.

Check Also

Japanese New Year Preparations

Are you preparing for Japanese New Year? Tokyo goes quiet this week as most Japanese …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *