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Celebrate Shichi-Go-San With a Sweet Symbol of Long Life

On November 15, many Japanese families celebrate Shichi-Go-San with chitose ame ("thousand years candy") to wish children health and longevity.



Chitose ame by confectionary company Iwaiseika. (©Sankei)

Chitose ame is a traditional Japanese sweet associated with Shichi-Go-San. Observed on November 15, Shichi-Go-San is a festival and rite of passage for children aged seven (shichi), five (go), and three (san). Typically, girls celebrate at the ages of five and seven, while boys celebrate at the age of three.

The long, thin shape of chitose ame symbolizes longevity. Families enjoy this treat as a way to wish children a healthy life. It is believed that chitose ame was traditionally given as a gift to thank guests for attending a Shichi-Go-San ceremony.

Confectionary company Iwaiseika, located in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, is distributing around 500,000 pieces of its famed chitose ame to confectionery shops and shrines across Japan this year. 

Girls wearing kimono. (©Sankei)

Available All Year Round

Iwaiseika's chitose ame is available at ¥110 JPY (around $0.8 USD) a piece in five colors: red (strawberry milk), white (milk), purple (grape), yellow (lemon), and green (matcha). The sweet's auspicious spiral designs are carefully crafted using a traditional method of stretching the candy many times before molding.

President Masakazu Iwai of Iwaiseika explains, "By incorporating air during this [stretching] process, we achieve a light texture and an elegant color." 

He adds, "It's remarkable that our shipments continue without interruption throughout the year, even after November has passed. There is always someone, somewhere, who needs this candy."


(Read the related article in Japanese.)

Author: Satomi Sakaki

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