Mini Kimonos

A 7-year-old in her first grown-up kimono and obi.

Today was the official day of Shichi-Go-San, but for weeks families have been dressing their 7-year-old girls, 5-year-old boys, and 3-year-old girls in traditional finery and taking them to shrines to wish for long life and good health.

No expense is spared. The 7-year-olds have been up since dawn at the hairdresser, being pinned and sprayed into their first grow-up hairdos and wrapped in their first grown-up kimonos with obis tied in traditional unmarried girls’ knots. Boys don formal hakama embellished with cranes and other auspicious motifs. 3-year-old girls wear a padded jacket over their kimonos, and are allowed to start growing out their hair.

Here are a few more pictures!

A 5-year-old boy wearing hakama.

The little girl in front on the right is wearing the traditional 3-year-old outfit.

If you happen to be in Tokyo in the two weeks leading up to November 15, you can see children and their families dressed up at most big shrines and temples. A map to the Meiji Shrine (my favorite place to see them) are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more