Amidst the lush greenery of April and May, over 500 colorful carp-shaped streamers fly over the Shimanto River. Carp streamers represent prayers for the health and success of young boys, and the custom is for each family to fly carp shaped streamers in their garden. It is an extremely popular tradition, which has been passed down through the ages all over Japan. Flying lots of those streamers over a river is an extension of this event. Although this tradition can now be observed all over Japan, it originated on the Shimanto River in the Tokawa District of Kochi Prefecture. Some local boys inspired the tradition in 1973 when they said, “As we grow older we gradually stop decorating with carp streamers at home.” Hearing this, some local youths gathered 50 out-of-use streamers and hung them across the river on a rope.
The tradition of hanging carp streamers over a river, which started in response to those boys’ wishes, has continued every year since 1974 and attracts and fascinates tourists from all over Japan. This event has even crossed to other countries. A large-scale plan to hang carp streamers over the Niagara River was executed on the suggestion of an American on international exchange. They succeeded in stringing 200 carp streamers over the 260 meter wide Niagara River, bringing America and Japan together in an act of international exchange.
Tokawa, Shimanto Town, Kochi Prefecture
●About 60 minutes by car from Shimantocho-chuo Exit on Kochi Expressway ●Take a train from JR Kochi Station on JR Dosan Line to Kubokawa Station. Take a train from Kubokawa Station on JR Yodo Line and get off at Tokawa Station. About 400 meters from Tokawa Station.