Coming of Age (Seijin No Hi)

Every second Monday of January marks the coming of age of women in Japan.

Coming of Age

Every second Monday of January marks the coming of age of women in Japan. This day is called Seijin no Hi (成人の日) or Coming of Age Day. Those who turned 20 years old during the previous year would be regarded as adults with corresponding responsibilities and independence. They can now legally drink, smoke, drive, vote, go to bars, etc. During this day, women would attend a ceremony at the city hall and celebrate afterwards through visits in shrines, amusement parks, and end their day at parties.

Tokyo Asakusa Coming Of Age Day Seijin No Hi Temple Festival Japan Portraits Travel Photography 01

Witnessing Tradition at Asakusa

I visited the Sensoji Shrine at Asakusa to be able to witness my first Coming of Age Day in Japan. I documented this tradition with blogger rainbowholic (http://the.rainbowholic.me/). I was delighted to see beautiful women wearing their furisode , a distinct type of kimono worn during this day. Women can be seen doing various practices like getting their omikuji or fortunes at the temple, washing their hands at the shrine, and offering money to the Gods. I thought Asakusa was a good place to witness this Japanese tradition because of its lively and colorful environment, as well as offering various street food where women could share meals together and have a fun ad casual conversation.

I believe each culture has their own corresponding Coming of Age Day. But what is different in Japan is that they emphasize “togetherness” in this tradition, celebrating this day with each other and not having a single special celebrant. It was great to witness this beautiful Japanese tradition and see how the Japanese places utmost importance on women’s transition to adulthood. For the Japanese, it is important to remember that this new-found independence also comes with corresponding  responsibilities.

Coming of age ceremonies have been celebrated in Japan since at least 714 AD, when a young prince donned new robes and a hairstyle to mark his passage into adulthood.