May 5th is Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) in Japan. It’s one of four national holidays that make up “Golden Week”. I won’t go too much into the background of this day because I wrote a post about it last year, but basically Kodomo no Hi is a day to celebrate boys. It’s tradition for families with sons to put up koinobori (carp streamers) outside their houses. These days though, you can see koinobori flying high in lots of places, especially above rivers where they look like they’re swimming upstream!
Today, I went to Tokyo Tower where they have 333 koinobori flying at the base. There is one carp for every metre the tower is tall i.e. it is 333 metres from the base to the highest point of the antenna. The tower was completed in the year Showa 33 (equivalent to 1958) – however, this ’33’ is actually a coincidence!
From talking to Japanese people over the years, I definitely feel as though they think of Tokyo Tower as the original symbol of their capital city. It was built after World War II and became an image of hope for a nation in recovery. It was the country’s tallest tower until 2012 when Tokyo SkyTree was completed. And although SkyTree is a new and super exciting attraction, and will eventually take over all broadcasting, I think Tokyo Tower will always be a nostalgic icon and the heart of the city.
Koinobori at Tokyo Tower:
View from the top:
View from surrounds: