Our uncle, Maejima-san, picked some ‘Shoubu’ plants and brought a bunch for our baths here at the inn. A type of Japanese iris, shoubu is decorated at the entrance to houses or placed in baths as part of the May 5th Boy’s Day celebration. Here in Nagano, where spring comes later, Boy’s Day is held on June 5th, 1 month later than the rest of Japan.
Shoubu is thought to ward off evil and is placed in the wish that boys grow up healthy and strong. So if you see some iris clippings hanging in front of an entrance or floating in a bath, it’s sort of a good-luck charm for Boy’s Day. All 4 of our baths here at Kamesei have shoubu in them now, so come and bring your sons for a bath!