Coming of Age Day (成人の日, Seijin no Hi) is a holiday held every year on the second Monday in January. It is held in to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached or will reach the age of maturity (20 years old) and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies (成人式, seijin-shiki) held at local and prefecture offices, as well as after-parties among family and friends.
The first time I was in Tokyo on the second Monday of January, I was shooting in Asakusa in and around the temple of Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺 and yes I did see lots of young women in kimono and men in hakama but I just thought this is Tokyo I guess that's how it goes when you visit the temple. I was of course to find out from my family what I had been photographing and how it happens every year. There's an elegance and a youthful exuberance attached to this event, I also see a little bit of pressure to be perfectly turned out on the day, I'm guessing the hairdressers are booked out these days!
Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺, Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant. There's a myriad of little streets, restaurants and shops around the temple area. The temple itself is worth seeing for it's colour, size and architecture, it's impressive I have to say. It's one of the most visited spiritual sites in the world with more than 30,00000 visitors a year.During World War II, the temple was bombed and destroyed during the 10 March air raid on Tokyo. It was rebuilt later and is a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people. I've been here at all times of the day and night and I do find peace and inspiration here both with and without the crowds!
Coming of age ceremonies (成人式, Seijin-shiki) mark one's coming of age (age of maturity), which reflects both the expanded rights but also increased responsibilities expected of new adults.The atmosphere all around Asakusa on this day is one which I enjoy very much, lots of giggling and photo taking of course, Tokyo is often dry and sunny in January which see the streets full of the usual tourists, passers and residents of this lively Shitamachi (lower city) area.I enjoy seeing the relationships between friends celebrating together between mothers and daughters and between what looks like to me young couples setting out on the journey of life. I can't really think of a comparable day where I grew up we did of course celebrate 21st birthday with a key to the house back in those days!
With the pandemic still going on I didn't get to shoot Seijin no Hi this year but hopefully next year we will all be in a different place and I will return to witness this day of fun, colour and beauty, until then I hope these photos bring some colour to our lockdowns...