3:39 PM

Sagami-gawa River Koi Nobori Festival

This is an adventure! If you are not able to travel past your comfort levels, it is not recommended. The Koi Nobori Festival held annually at the Sagami-gawa River in Sagami is a local festival that is gradually gaining popularity throughout the region...into globally. (Kanagawa being the region & Yokosuka being the not so local.)

They string about 1,200 carp fish flags over the river in celebration of children! The koi (carp) & nobori (flag) was introduced to Japan was originally for Boys' Day or "Tango No Sekku", encouraging them to grow up brave, strong, & successful, which many Japanese still hold true to this tradition. Today (since 1948) it is now a representation of Children's Day, May 5th, to represent "energy, strength, & perseverance." Adding children's day into the "Golden Week" allowed the Japan by law to have an entire week of vacation! Many corporations extend this into two weeks...

I am personally obsessed with these flags & the little representation of them in other forms. Maybe because I am a new mom to a miracle: a son, maybe because I love gold fish or koi, or maybe it is both! Seeing them flowing in the breeze makes my heart lighten up just as much as seeing big white sails on open water! For me, this was a trip that was worth a little effort.

The traditional order of hanging is: Black = father, red = mother, & then one additional smaller carp for each child. Red & white ribbons are often added to symbolize the water. The Chinese legend says that is a carp swam up river he would transform into a dragon that went to heaven.

http://koinobori.fr/en/les-origines-japonaises-2/

http://homepage3.nifty.com/hinaya/sekku,eng.htm

You don't realize how globally these string of fish are until you see them on a DIY site! http://www.diylife.com/2008/05/05/fish-kites-for-childrens-day/

DIRECTION TO SAGAMI-GAWA RIVER & PARK:
*Note: there is no English out this way, maybe a number or a hello, but that is it. If you are going, take your notes with you, written in print so that they can help.
  • Go to the Sagamihara Station
  • Take bus #17 from bus pole #5... bus pole will be in the middle right by the stairs. (There are other buses that go that way, but 17 will be the least "rural" in transit).
  • 30 minute ride to last stop, you will know it is the last stop when the bus pulls into a small rural semi-circle area with stone sign & parks (there may or may not be other buses or people). If you feel like you are getting off in the middle of nowhere, yet a nice neighborhood, you are at the right spot. 310 yen you pay on your way off...
  • Leave the bus parking & go LEFT up the road
  • Take the FIRST RIGHT only a few yards up...
  • Take the FIRST LEFT again, it will have a double mirror pole in the corner... the road you turn onto will be windy &/or curvy looking
  • Turn RIGHT at the Yamasaki store or the red & yellow "Y" store.
  • Walk straight on that road, no turns...
  • Pass a tori gate on your right
  • Up the little hill
  • POOF! You are there!
STROLLERS -
With no more than 3 strollers per bus you can do this. Also, though there may be stops closer to the park, it will be very hard or impossible to load & unload with the strollers, so be sure to use the stop listed above both ways.

When you get to the park, you will need to walk along the top ridge to your right, all the way down until you get to the ramp that then brings you down to the lower level or the actual "park". You will find restrooms this way too... not baby friendly.