Koinobori [鯉のぼり] – Carp-shaped Streamers

Koinobori [鯉のぼり] literally means carp [鯉] streamer [のぼり]. Koinobori are seen around the time of Kodomo no hi [子供の日] (children’s day).

Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday celebrated on May 5th annually as a part of the Golden Week (April 29th – May 5th). Children’s Day is also called Tango no Sekku [端午の節句].
For more Sekku information click here.

Celebration with Koinobori

Families with young sons decorate koinobori outside their house to celebrate the children’s day.
In Japan, Koi (Carp) is known as a brave and strong fish that can swim upstream and based on a Chinese legend, a carp which swam upstream became a dragon.
The koinobori symbolizes parents wishes for their sons to be strong and successful.

The origin of Koinobori dates back to the Edo era [江戸時代].

Names of Koinobori

Yaguruma [矢車] : Arrow-spoked wheels on the top of the pole represents celestial sphere, a landmark for god
Fukinagashi [吹き流し] : The windsock at the top of the black carp represents driving evil spirits away

Koinobori [鯉のぼり] Black Carp [真鯉] Blue Carp [小鯉] Red Carp [緋鯉]

Magoi [真鯉] : The black carp represents the father
Higoi [緋鯉] : The red carp represents the mother
Kogoi [小鯉] : The blue carp represents the son

Subsequent carps are added for other sons with different colors.