Why I Didn't Go To Seijin Shiki

What is Seijin Shiki? (成人式)

Seijin Shiki aka Coming of Age Ceremony is a Japanese national holiday that takes place on January 8th, in which all people who are turned 20 years old within the past year are invited to an official welcoming ceremony. This day marks your official transition to adulthood and signifies that you're an adult in the eyes of Japanese society. 

If you're living in Japan, you will receive an invitation in the mail that invites you to the ceremony held at your districts chosen location. I live in Shinjuku at the moment so I was directed to go to the Keio Plaza Hotel at 1pm. 

My original plan was to rent a kimono for the day, attend the ceremony, and then return it right after. However, once I did some more research as to what goes on during the ceremony, I wasn't interested in attending. 

Regardless, if you're thinking about attending but not sure, I hope this can clear up some possible questions!

What happens during a typical Seijin Shiki?

Upon checking in, you mingle around and look for old friends to catch up with, take some group photos, and then take your place inside the lecture hall. Once seated, speeches from the mayor and other public figures, possibly even other new adults, will be held. Sometimes there are musical or theatre performances. There might be videos shown or presentations given. After those have commenced, most people take more photos and either return home or go out drinking with friends. 

I'm a foreigner, should I attend Seijin Shiki?

There's no correct answer to this, but my answer is no. This ceremony is a place where you meet up with your old friends from back in grade school and all become adults together. If you're a foreigner who attended primary school or high school in Japan, I think this ceremony definitely could be fun and of value, to you, and for that situation I recommend attending. 

Personally, I did not attend because I don't have childhood experience in Japan and no one to meet up with at the ceremony so it wasn't worth it for me to attend.  I'm not interested in hearing speeches and the kimono rental is a bit pricey, so I decided to not attend and save my money. 

How much is Kimono rental for Seijin Shiki?

This depends entirely on where you go and who you are. When I spoke to a kimono rental service in Shin-Okubo, I was told kimono rental costs for Coming of Age ceremonies average at about $200 to $500. 

This entirely depends on what kimono you get and where you shop. This comes with everything you need for a day in a kimono, which includes but isn't limited to: a fuzzy shawl, slippers, socks, a matching bag, hairstyle and decoration, and the kimono accessories. Since this price tag was a bit hefty for me, I asked for some alternatives and was recommended a furisode. A furisode is a type of kimono that is worn for Seijin Shiki, and it usually comes in bright colors.

Furisode tends to be less expensive, so if I chose to rent that one for the day it would only put me out about $60. 

Is it worth it?

Like I mentioned before, it really depends on your situation. If you know a significant amount of people attending and don't mind the itinerary, I would say go for it! 
If you don't know anyone else attending and the ceremony activities sound like a bore, I would say it's safe to skip this one. I know a few people who skip the ceremony but get dressed up and go out with their friends to celebrate their adulthood, so that's also an option if you still want to celebrate in some way.

I hope this post helped you learn a bit more about Coming of Age Day!