Here’s How Japanese Locals Celebrate Their Coming of Age Day

It's actually a pretty big deal for them!

In Japan, people are considered of legal age when they reach 20 years old. But by April 2022, the legal age will be lowered to 18 years old.

For people who have reached and will reach the age of majority, the Coming of Age Day is an event that they’re already quite familiar with. It’s an important moment in one’s life and is celebrated every year on the second Monday of January as a way of showing one’s appreciation to parents for having raised them well.

The age of adulthood is massively celebrated around Japan and is actually even considered a national holiday.

The festivities usually include a ceremony held at local city offices or event spaces, where participants, as part of the tradition, are required to dress presentably.

Girls wear a specific kimono called
furisode, whose name is derived from the garment’s long sleeves. It symbolizes youth, since it was only worn by unmarried women back in the day. On the other hand, boys wear a type of suit called montsuki, whose name is derived from the crest found on kimono jackets.

Usually, locals start looking for their
furisode about six months before the event. A day’s rent for this kind of kimono starts from ¥100,000, exclusive of the fee for professional dressers, hairstyling, and makeup. When you add up all the costs, sometimes the expenses can exceed more than ¥300,000.

Here’s a sneak peek of what goes on during the day:

Morning - Going to the Beauty Salon

Girls wake up very early in the morning to give them time to have their hair and makeup done. More often than not, the huge demand for hair and makeup services make it really hard for them to book a salon during the season. They would normally have to wake up at 
5 or 6 a.m. just to get a slot and be the first one in line. That is why most of the girls prefer making prior reservations to manage their time well.

Noon - Attending the Ceremony

Each city holds the Coming of Age ceremony either at the local city hall or at a large event space. The city hall sends invitations to the participating youth and their parents about a month before the ceremony. Only those given these invitations can join the event. 

At the ceremony, the city mayor delivers a speech that congratulates and encourages everyone to start living like an adult. At times, famous people who came from the same hometown, are invited to the event as guests to give their speeches as well. After which, the city’s anthem is played.


Afternoon - Free Time

Some people would head over to photo studios to have their pictures taken for remembrance. In the old days, the photos they took during this event were considered very important as it was used for arranged marriages.

Others, on the other hand, would choose to eat lunch with their families, while the remaining would opt to go home to take a rest, before changing their clothes for the next activity.

Evening - Meeting with Old Friends

For many Japanese, reunion parties mean a whole lot more than the Coming of Age ceremony. It’s at this time of the day when they invite their teachers and high school, middle school, or elementary school classmates to look back and relive the memories of their schooldays.

This reunion party is quite significant since most of the young people leave their hometowns after graduating high school to study in a university or start working. It’s only during this special opportunity that all of them can get together again after a very long time.

While this party would usually signal the end of the day’s festivities, some people prefer continuing the fun by going to after parties with their old classmates. Since part of the perks of being of legal age is being able to drink alcohol, newly recognized ladies and gentlemen take this chance to drink and spend quality time with their friends. However, most of them are told to drink in moderation, since legend has it that drinking too much could turn that special day into the worst day of their lives.

Provided by Karaksa Media Partner (11 January 2019)

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