Traditional Event for Children: Shichi-Go-San

七五三_大阪天満宮2 未分類

7-5-3, Shichi-Go-San

Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) is a traditional rite of passage and a festival day in Japan, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of children.

七五三_大阪天満宮2In Japan, odd number is generally considered lucky. That’s why the odd numbered-years of this important period of a child’s growth, specifically, the ages of three and five for boys, and three and seven for girls, are celebrated. In the past, people used to thank the local Shinto deity for the children’s growth, and to pray for their well-being in the future because only a few children survive until they became an adult.



日本では割り切れない奇数がよい数字とされ、男子では3歳と5歳、女子は3歳と7歳に祝います。 昔は成人するまで生き残る子どもの割合が低かったため、人々は氏神様にこれまでの成長に感謝し、今後も健やかに成育するよう、お願いしてきたのでした。


This is a commemorative photo of my Shichi-Go-San taken 30 years ago.
My parents gave me a long stick of red and white candy, placed in a paper bag with illustrations of crane and turtle. It is called “chitose-ame” (thousand-year candy). (It was actually a bribe so I would stop crying while taking pictures.)
“Chitose” means one thousand years, while the crane and turtle symbolize long life. Red and white, meanwhile, are auspicious color-combination for Japanese.
It is tough for children to wear the kimono, since it is very tight to the body.


Let’s go to shrines if you want to see children wearing traditional kimono.




On November 15, children dress themselves up in kimono and visit the shrine with their parents to have prayer services for Shichi-Go-San.
The average price for the prayer is 5,000 Yen. It is said that this has been formed since Taisho Period (1912-1926).

Nowadays, it is not necessary to celebrate exactly on that day, so as to avoid congestion. In Hokkaido, which is situated in a cold region, Shichi-Go-San is usually held in October.
If you want to see Japanese traditional costume, why don’t you drop by shrines on weekends of October or November? You can see children dressing in beautiful kimono.


ご祈祷料は、神社にもよりますが、5000円くらいが平均的。 現在の形となったのは、大正時代(1912-1926)と言われています。

7-5-3 family photo

Recently, there are photo studios only for children in Japan. Also, many photo studios conduct business inside or beside shrines. The number of families who spend extra money for taking commemorative photos for their loved children is increasing.

Even though most of the Japanese think they are “religiophobia”, they are willing to visit shrines for Shichi-Go-San or Hatsumode (first shrine visit during the new year). They might not be aware of doing something related to religion while worshipping with folded hands at the shrines.