“Koinobori” which is put up in hopes of children’s healthy growth. Let's go see the colorful view of Tokyo Tower x Koinobori.

“Koinobori” is an old Japanese custom characterized by large, koi fish-shaped windsocks that look as if they are swimming in the sky. During the Koinobori season, koi windsocks are put up on display throughout Japan, including the 333 koi windsocks at Tokyo Tower, one of Tokyo’s tourist attractions. The spectacular view is truly social media-worthy!

When you are travelling in Japan in April or May after the cherry blossom season, you may find Koinobori fluttering in the wind. It is a type of decoration used for Children’s Day (May 5), which is one of the traditional Sekku days in Japan. The custom is said to have originated among samurai families during the Edo period in hopes of children’s happiness and healthy growth.

Various colors are used, including black, red, blue, green, and gold.

Although these windsocks come in all different colors, there were initially only black ones. A black koi also appears in one of the artworks from ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige Utagawa’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. It is said that the colorful modern version was first conceived at the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, as Koinobori makers were inspired by the colors of the five rings.

Back in the days of old Japan, Koinobori would be put up in the yards of people’s houses and in public spaces, and people would appreciate the view of Koinobori flown in the wind as a seasonal tradition. However, it has become a rare sight in Tokyo in recent years, and more and more people are opting for small Koinobori for displaying on the balcony, to the side of the front door, or indoors.

There is an event that lets you enjoy both the famous Tokyo Tower and the view of grand Koinobori flown in the wind, which has become a rare sight in Tokyo.

Since Tokyo Tower is 333 meters high, 333 colorful Koinobori are hung below the tower. The event has become very popular among the children in Tokyo as an opportunity for seeing authentic Koinobori.

Also, to express support for the recovery from the disasters of the Great East Japan Earthquake, one of the Koinobori has been “Sanmanobori” (meaning “Pacific saury windsock”) from Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture since 2011. Hope you can find it!

Together with the Sanmanobori, a tairyo-bata (a flag that fishers put up on their boat to tell their families and other fishers, who are waiting at the fishing port, that they got a good catch) is also put up.

The event is held from March 20 through May 6, and Japan is in spring during that time, so the climate is very pleasant. Let’s enjoy a nice stroll in Tokyo, looking for the impressive view of colorful Koinobori swimming in the blue sky with Tokyo Tower in the background.

■DATA 333 Koinobori at Tokyo Tower Venue: In front of the main entrance on the 1st floor of Tokyo Tower, 4-2-8 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo Period: Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - Monday, May 6, 2024 Tel. 03-3433-5111 Official website: https://en.tokyotower.co.jp/

(Information as of February 2024.)

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