Chigo-gyoretsu at Hie Shrine, Tokyo

Chigo-gyoretsu at Hie Shrine 2

A colourful children’s procession with wishes for happiness and health

In Japanese, chigo (稚児) means ‘small child’ and gyoretsu (行列) means ‘procession’. And so chigo-gyoretsu means exactly what you’d think – a procession of small children. Last weekend I was lucky enough to see one such procession as part of the Sanno Matsuri at Hie Shrine in Nagatachō. At this festival, kids aged three to five dress up in orange and purple to wish for growth and health. Wearing matching Heian costumes, the boys wear a stiff hat of lacquered gauze called an eboshi (烏帽子), while the girls wear a crown with a phoenix bird and bright metal pendants called a tenkan (天冠). It was a beautiful way to spend a Sunday here in Tokyo.

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