Surely we have all seen this type of flags in the form of tents, their name is koinobori (鯉 幟) or Satsuki-nobori (皐 幟, さ つ き の ぼ り) and are the traditional Japanese flags that are raised on special days of children as the Kodomo did not hi. Traditionally, the Japanese associate the tents with the children because they represent strength, because of the skill they show when they go upstream against the current.
The Kodomo no hi is celebrated on May 5, national holiday in Japan. From the beginning of history it has been said that May is a month for purification, and many rites that were supposed to drive away evil spirits were then performed. For this reason, the date was set on May 5. All the buildings are decorated with koinobori from April and until the beginning of May in honor of the sons and with the hope that they grow strong, healthy, happy and respect their personality.
Do you know the meaning of each tent that makes up the flag? The black carp on the top represents the father, the red one represents the mother and the last carp represents the son. A new tent is added, in addition every time a new son is born in the family.
The typical food for this day are the Kashiwa-mochi, rice cakes filled with sweet red beans and wrapped in oak leaves. As always in Japan everything has its symbolism and these leaves represent prosperity, because they do not fall before new shoots appear, which means that parents should not die until their children are born. It is a cake originating in Tokyo and popular throughout eastern Japan. In addition to eating, they are also taken as an offering to the Shinto shrines.
There is a famous song about the Koinobori, which is often sung by children and their families:
屋 根 よ り 高 い 鯉 幟
大 き い 真 鯉 は お 父 さ ん
小 さ い 緋 鯉 は 子 供 た ち
面 白 そ う に 泳 い で る
Higher than the roofs of houses, are the koinobori
The biggest carp is the father
The smallest carps are the children
They seem to have a good time swimming.
After we meet at our bike location, we take off as a group to our first stop called "Yoshikien", a garden gathering 3 styles Japanese gardens in a unique location; a way to enjoy and rediscover the place at every season. Then, we stop by "Nandaimon gate" to admire the Buddhism style building and walk around the place, petting and feeding the deers.