All About Japan

Japanese Festivals: Shichi-Go-San

Festivals Events Family

Shichi-go-san (“Seven-Five-Three” Festival) is a yearly event in Japan, held on November 15, in which parents celebrate and pray for the development and happiness of their sons and daughters, typically boys at 5 and girls at the ages of 7 and 3 (this varies by region).

This custom reportedly began during the Edo Period (1603–1868) in Tokyo and the Kanto region, but eventually spread to other regions and is now a popular celebration across the country. The tradition of Shichi-go-san involves children wearing formal clothing or kimono and visiting a shrine or temple with their families, who offer up prayers for their good health, growth, happiness and long life. Other customs include visiting a studio to have a commemorative family photo taken, enjoying a meal with grandparents and other relatives, and eating long sticks of candy called chitose ame, which signifies long life.