Get to Know Japan’s Coming of Age Day

Ever walked the streets of Tokyo and anywhere else in Japan in early January to see many young people donning beautiful kimonos? It’s not a time warp. You are witnessing Seijin no Hi or Seijin Shiki (Coming of Age Day), a national holiday celebrated in Japan on the first month of each year. This article will jump into all the details regarding the colorful and glamorous holiday, so do read on!

The history behind the holiday

One of the first recorded instances of the holiday being celebrated was back in 714 CE when a young prince marked his passage into adulthood by wearing new robes and a hairstyle. In 1948, the holiday was officially established in Japan, to be celebrated every year on January 15. The date was once again changed in 2000 in line with the Happy Monday System, which modified public holidays to a Monday to create a three-day weekend.

Seijin no Hi is celebrated every second Monday in January, falling on January 11 in 2021. It is all about welcoming the youth into adulthood and society, or those turning 20 in that year. The holiday is an essential rite of passage upheld for hundreds of years.

Traditions and ceremonies during Coming of Age Day

How does one celebrate this occasion? It starts a few days before when your grandmother fusses over preparations such as booking a hairstylist, polishing the ultra-expensive kimono passed down in the family, scheduling an appointment at a photo studio – or at least that was my experience of Seijin no Hi. The result?

One could also opt to rent a kimono (around ¥13,000) for the celebration, given their shockingly expensive price (¥200,000 to ¥5,000,000 for …continue reading