Koinobori Carp Streamers

In the days leading up to Children's Day, which falls every year on May 5th, colorful windsocks known as koinobori 鯉のぼり can be seen in many parts of Japan, fluttering in the wind above the roofs of houses and other places where children gather. The streamers' distinctive carp shape belies the festival's origin as a celebration for boys (which was converted to a children's festival after 1948), since the fish's liveliness and courage as it swims upstream were seen as positive character traits which families wanted their sons to have.

Back in their natural element

Most Koinobori, like the ones photographed above in Chizu, Tottori Prefecture, flutter in the wind high above and can be seen from afar.

In the city of Hōfu in Yamaguchi Prefecture, however, you'll find an unusual collection of koinobori which cannot be seen unless you come much closer. In fact, you'll only notice them when you look down into the Saba River. As captured by photography enthusiast māīka, who graciously allowed us to use these images, these Koinobori really take the carp motif to heart:

Photo courtesy of māīka (@kiyo4811029)

Here, in a rare variant of the koinobori tradition, the locals decided to take advantage of the pure waters of the Saba River which traverses Hōfu City to submerge 120 carp streamers in an event known as Sabagawa Koinobori no Kawanagashi 佐波川こいのぼりの川流し (literally, "streaming Koinobori in the Saba River").

On a sunny day, the colorful koinobori stretched out in several rows along the river can be clearly seen as they flow and "swim" in the current, entertaining both locals and tourists who visit to see the unusual sight.

Photo courtesy of māīka (@kiyo4811029)

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By - Ben K.