In this article, we would like to introduce about the fish-like shaped Banner Flags that are decorated during Children’s Day, which is Koinobori.

The Meaning of Koinobori


Koinobori is decorated to wish for promotion and good health to boys. The Koinobori is a carp-designed banner flag and you can mostly find it at the gardens of a Japanese home.

The reason to why its shape is a carp is because in the old days in China, it was said that “The Carp that climbed the waterfall ascended to the heaven and became a Dragon.” From this story, it was told that despite the raging stream of the waterfall, the carp was able to climb and it become a dragon and this is the lesson parents want to teach their sons. And so, the meaning of Koinobori is that even if there are obstacles that will try to stop you, just keep going forward and grow for the better!

In other words, Koinobori is the symbol of success in life!

Does Their Color Have Meanings?

Originally, during the Koinobori, only black carps were decorated to wish for promotion and good health to boys. However, as time goes by, because number 「3」is a lucky number, a red carp and blue carp was added to the colors.

Recently, to show one’s family structure, some families increases the number of banner flags and a black carp represents the father, the red carp represents the mother and the blue or green carp represents the child.

The Meaning of the「Fuki Nagashi吹き流し」at the top

At the top of the Koinobori there is a Fuki Nagashi. Fuki Nagashi is very colorful and has a fluttering end. It is a charm to keep away evil spirits.

In the old days, Fuki Nagashi was attached to banners in the civil war as a charm to prevent bad luck. Since then, it is attached to the Koinobori to protect children from bad luck.

Fuki Nagashi has 5 colors. The reason to why it has five colors is because of China’s Five Elements Theory. It was said that if five colors were collected together, the power of the charm will be effective. Since then, this belief was handed down to Japan today.


There is no limit to until when you can decorate a Koinobori. Commonly, people start to decorate a Koinobori after the Hinamatsuri or the Doll Festival, which is on March 3rd.

It is better to put the decorations away after May 5th.

While decorating the Koinobori, it could get dirty. It is recommended to clean it up before putting it away, so you can use it again next year. The material of the Koinobori is made from Polyester or Nylon so you can easily wash it at home.