Koinobori and the coming of spring
Spring is cementing its hold on Niigata, slowly but surely. To celebrate, the city of Kamo holds an annual festival. Somehow, I’d been so wrapped up in my thoughts that I almost failed to notice it (it’s quite impressive when you consider how close I live to Kamo River and the Omi Shrine, two of the city’s cultural hot spots).
Koinobori are carp-shaped flags that play a role in many Japanese festivals; they are traditionally flown to celebrate Children’s Day in May. Traditionally, the Japanese associate carp with boys because of the strength of carp that swim upstream. In Kamo, huge streamers ranging in size from one to over three meters are suspended over the river and allowed to flutter in the wind. It makes for a rather magical atmosphere – and a good place for a person to destress after a long day at work.
I am quite fond of this place.