Buddhist temple in Nagano teeming with children marking rite of passage

Families with young children gathered at Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano City, central Japan, on Wednesday to celebrate "Shichi-go-san," the traditional rite of passage for kids.

This custom involves boys aged 3 and 5 and girls aged 3 and 7 visiting a shrine or a Buddhist temple on November 15 to pray for their growth.

On Wednesday, families accompanying children, including girls dressed up in kimono, attended a special prayer session at Daikanjin Temple within the Zenko-ji Temple system. The children each received a traditional long stick of candy and posed for photographs with their families at a hall and a garden, both of which are usually closed to visitors. The families were also exposed to smoke from a holy fire lit for invocation.

A 3-year-old girl expressed her joy at wearing a kimono and posing for a photo. A mother said she prayed for her family's happiness and her child's well-being.

A father said he hopes his child will grow healthily and become a kind person who never troubles others.