The second Monday of January is known as the Coming of Age Day (成人の日), also known as seijin no hi. It is a national holiday that celebrates becoming an adult. People who turned 20 years old the previous year are invited to a ceremony in their local city hall and often visit a shrine as well.
Women dress in a furisode. A furisode is a long sleeve kimono that is often quite expensive and is given to the women by their parents. Furisodes are only worn by single adult women. It is meant to symbolize their availability for marriage.
Men wear a male kimono and a hakama. A hakama can have legs like pants but can also be open like a skirt. However many men wear western suits now.
After the ceremony and visit to the shrine, families will have a small party. Many photos are taken during this day and the focus is on the 20 year old. After the small party, many of the participants will change into informal clothes and go with their friends to the izakaya, Japanese pub. They go to celebrate reaching the legal drinking age.
There has been a decline in participation of the Coming of Age Ceremonies. Many refuse to buy/rent a furisode or a kimino, which are expensive. Many youths are not in a rush to become adults. There have been times where youths disrupt the ceremonies in protest. Therefore, there is often a police presence during the ceremonies.
It’s interesting to see how everyone rallies together to celebrate the young men and women who turn 20 as a community together.