Seijin no hi

Ah, it’s Coming-of-Age Day again, one of Japan’s Happy Monday holidays. Today is the day where all over Japan youngsters who have turned 20 in the last year visit shrines to celebrate being an adult. Most young people do so dressed in expensive kimono, with elaborate hairstyles, and just the right attitude…

I went to Heian shrine again today in the hope of taking some pictures, but either I arrived too late, or the place to be this year was somewhere else than last year.couple in kimono at heian shrine

Girl and dragon fountainIn any case, there was a large group of young people in front of Kyoto Exhibition Hall, where some group had organised a meeting with speeches and photographers… so I did get some photos after all. Two things surprised me: First, the number of young people who were smoking. It is quite rare to see a Japanese person of any age smoking in public or on the streets. Especially in Kyoto, many tourist areas are strict non smoking zones, probably because so much of these parts of Kyoto are still made of wood, or maybe just because smoking in crowded places is not a very brilliant idea. There were even non smoking signs where the crowd gathered, but the brand new adults defied the signs as well as the guards and the police, who did not bother to say anything to begin with. I guess that they did not want to spoil the fun the youngsters had on their great day.

Second, the guys surprised me again, just like last year. The normal, traditional formal wear for a man has two colours: black and white, and maybe some gray in between. On seijin no hi, however, their kimono and hakama are often more colourful than the girls, and the young men don’t even shy away from dyeing their hair. I guess it’s the one and only and last day when they can be as reckless and irresponsible as possible in public. Obviously they had great fun doing so! Young man in flowery haoriHaori with tiger motifLeopard prints and flower punk