photo courtesy Sabogawa Koinobori Kawanagashi Association

Around this time of year, Japan becomes decorated with scenes of fish fluttering in the sky. Known as koinobori, the carp streamers are an important celebration of Children’s Day, which is on May 5th, and is one of the consecutive holidays that makes up Golden Week in Japan. But one of our favorite forms of the celebration happens at Sabogawa River, which plays host to an unusual yet exquisite tradition. Colorful koinobori, which usually flutter in the wind, are placed back into the river where they belong.


The event, whose official name is the Sabogawa Koinobori Kawanagashi, takes place each year from May 2 – May 5 at the Sabogawa River in Hofu City (Yamaguchi prefecture). During this short period, 120 koinobori are placed into the river to the delight of spectators.

Koinobori are carp streamers that are typically hoisted onto a pole and flown to celebrate Children’s Day (May 5). Large scale events take place across Japan but this is one of the only rare versions in which the wind socks flutter in water.

Here is the exact location in Google Maps.

This article was originally published in 2019 and has been updated to reflect current information.