Kodomo-no-Hi / Koinobori


‘Koinobori’ sweet

Time passes fast. Very fast indeed! It’s already May. This week people in Japan are having the longest National Holiday break in a year called the Golden Week. One of the Bank Holidays during the Golden Week is the 5th of May, ‘Kodomo-no-Hi‘. It is a day to celebrate the growth & health of children, but it is more like the Boy’s Day. We have the Girl’s Day on the 3rd of March as I posted before.


There are several things people do on the Kodomo-no-Hi. The most famous thing is that we place fish shaped flags outside called ‘Koinobori‘ (‘Koi’ means carp and ‘Nobori’ is a kind of Flag). We have a song about it for children.

๐ŸŽถ Yane yori takai Koinobori ๐ŸŽถ

It means “Koinobori swimming higher than the roof …”


Koinobori swimming high in the blue sky

Yes, it is placed traditionally higher than a roof, and some of them are bigger than a house. However, because many people live in a small apartment these days the size of Koinobori became much smaller in the last 50 years. From a week or two earlier towards the 5th of May you can see Koinobori swimming in the blue sky. It is a magnificent sight with a bit of wind, as they look like swimming in the sky. (However, I just saw somebody’s comment on social media that there is no Koinobori seen around where he lives…)

The thought behind this tradition must be because that Carp is a fish that is famous for swimming up a waterfall. So it is a symbol of strength and also a success and then parents place Koinobori with a wish that their children become as strong and successful as Carps.



Nobori Arai‘ –ย  Koinobori rinsed in a river during Sakura Cherry Blossom season (photographed by Miho Watanabe)

There is a town near my parents’ area called Iwakura (Aichi prefecture) which has a Koinobori making industry. Koinobori is printed on a cloth with some starch applied to give a shiny crisp finish. For rinsing off the excessive starch they are placed in a cold stream. This is called ‘Nobori Arai‘ and it is a seasonal scene you can see during winter to early spring.


Koinobori gathered

Although there are several food/sweets traditionally we eat on Kodomo-no-Hi, this sweet is not one of them. This one was created by myself inspired by Koinobori. It is a type of Japanese sweet called ‘Nerikiri‘ with ‘Tsubu-An‘ as the centre. It is Free from Gluten, Egg, Dairy & Oil.

Koinobori singleIt is home-made and hand-made so each fish looks slightly different.

You can have this sweet with refreshing Matcha Green Tea served in a traditional Tea Ceremony style in a cafe section at the Kimono shop Wasoukan in Notting Hill in London during May. Enjoy ๐Ÿต!!ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

Koinobori side B&P.jpg

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