In mid-November, parents of 3, 5, and 7 year-old kids take them to local shrines for a blessing and special ceremony. I dragged our family to the Heian Jingu in Kyoto (one of the biggest ones) to look around. Heian Jingu has this huge torii:
Part of the fun is that kids get dressed up in their finest clothes. Some people choose traditional Japanese clothes; others choose fancy Western clothes.
Behold the cuteness:
This boy is holding his chitose ame, a candy for living a long time.
It's not just the cute clothes--it's also the hair, the makeup, the sandals, the socks, the purse. Some of my grown-up Japanese friends told me they hated the tight kimono. But the kids we saw seemed pretty proud.
These are three-year old twins from Osaka.
By the way, I do always ask before taking the pictures...at least the ones from the front....