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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Koinobori: Floating in the Wind and Swaying With the Tide

It’s not just the skies that are decorated for Children’s Day. Divers in Wakayama Prefecture are entertained by carp decorations gently swaying with the tide.



One of the favorite marks of Japan’s Golden Week holidays is the appearance of colorful streamers brightening skies, neighborhoods and homes around the country. Originally meant to celebrate the good health and strong growth of young boys on May 5, in this era the day celebrates all children.

But wait: it’s not just the skies that are decorated for this celebration. 

Traditional koinobori streamers.

Underwater Koinobori

Before Children's Day on May 5, 2022, colorful underwater carp streamers in red, blue, and orange made an appearance off the coast along Wakayama Prefecture. They were near the town of Kushimoto, a popular diving location. The carp decorations gently swaying with the flow of the tide were there to entertain divers until May 8.

This is an annual event organized by a local diving business association to promote the  ​​Kushimoto Sea, where various corals grow, thriving in the warm Kuroshio Current.

Celebrating the Kuroshio on Children's Day

The Kuroshio Current is one of the major Pacific ocean streams. It begins east of the Philippines and then flows in a northeastward direction past Taiwan and Japan. 

In 2022, a rope was stretched over a rocky area in the sea about 200 meters off Shionomisaki, Kushimoto where the water was 10 meters deep. Connected to it were carp streamers of 1.5 to 5 meters. Fifteen fish-like apparitions could be seen swimming, including the locally popular bonito and tuna streamers.

"The water temperature is high in the Kansai area, the  south-central region of Japan's main island Honshu. And there are abundant fish species,” said Katsumasa Taniguchi. “Recently, we discovered a rare  scorpionfish. I hope everyone enjoys the sea in Kushimoto."

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(Read the related story in Japanese at this link.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun