December 13, 2021
Shichi-go-san (7-5-3) Ceremony
Group photo

From top left: Rev. Koyu Mori, Rev. Koshi Kurotaki, Kazuto Suzuki, Kayla Suzuki, Hitomi Suzuki, Rev. Sozan Miglioli, Rev. Taiga Ito; front center: Leo Suzuki

The Soto Mission of San Francisco, Sokoji, held its annual Shichi-go-san (7-5-3) Ceremony in mid-November.

Shichi-go-san literally translates to Seven-Five-Three and is a traditional Japanese rite of passage celebration for children ages three, five, and seven. These are considered crucial years in a child’s development, and special blessings are offered at these times.

On this day, boys (ages three and five) and girls (aged three and seven) dress up in either traditional Japanese clothes or formal Western dress and attend a temple or shrine with their parents. Children receive bags decorated with illustrations of a crane and turtle—symbols of a long life and happiness—with long, thin red and white chitose ame (thousand-year candy) inside. The symbols indicate wishes for a child’s good health and growth.

This year, Leo Suzuki (Suzuki Roshi’s great-grandson) attended his Shichi-go-san Ceremony at the Sokoji Temple in San Francisco’s Japantown. His father Kazuto Suzuki, mother Hitomi, and sister Kayla accompanied Leo on this auspicious occasion.