Monday was Coming of Age Day here in Japan, known as Seijin no hi. It’s a public holiday dedicated to 20 year olds, marking their transition into adulthood. It’s especially popular for girls, who put a huge amount of effort into getting all dolled up with hair and makeup and wear a super-expensive, formal kimono called furisode. These kimono have really long sleeves that almost touch the ground! The long sleeves signify that the person is unmarried. There’s actually another kimono with short sleeves for married women.
These ‘new adults’ take part in a ceremony at a city hall and also visit a shrine before continuing the celebrations with their friends. 20 marks the age when they can legally drink and smoke, so as you can imagine there were a few people across the country getting a bit loose on Monday night!
I checked out Meiji Jingu on Monday to try catch some of these girls during their shrine visit. Perhaps it’s because I went a bit late in the afternoon, but there weren’t as many girls as I thought there would be. Or maybe they just have better sense than to visit the most famous shrine in all of Japan! I did manage to see about a dozen beautiful kimono. I felt a bit invasive, like I was a paparazzi photographer, clicking away on my camera. Luckily, most of the girls didn’t seem to mind, and some were more than happy to pose for a few photos.