Timing is everything, or at least a lot. When we made plans to visit the Meiji Shrine, we had no idea that the day would be spectacular and that many families would be celebrating Shichi Go San (7-5-3), a celebratory right of passage that dates back to the Heian period. On this occasion, boys who are aged three or five and girls who are aged three or seven are dressed in kimono—many for the first time—for visits to shrines. Photography is a major part of the day, as well, and people were delighted to have photos taken of their children.
We had the additional good fortune to witness a Shinto wedding ceremony. As in many cultures, this event was preceded by a civil marriage performed at the local government office.
We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our stay in Japan.