modified on 3 March 2016 at 04:56 ••• 34,165 views


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Motif Information
Motif chidori photo 01.jpg

Copyright David Dexter
Romaji Chidori (also Tidori)
English Plover
Kanji 千鳥
Kana ちどり
Season Winter
Seasonal Exceptions Is commonly featured on Summer items
Auspicious Yes
Motif Type Bird
Audio Coming Soon
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Chidori (English: plover), are small wading birds from the Charadriinae subfamily. While a number of chidori species can be found in Japan (Long-billed plover (Ikaru-chidori), Little Ringed Plover (Ko-Chidori), Common Ringled Plover (Hajiro-ko-chidori), Kentish Plover (Shiro-chidori), Lesser Sand Plover (Medai-chidori), Greater Sand Plover (O-medai-chidori), Pacific Golden Plover (Munaguro), Grey Plover/Black-bellied Plover (Daizen))[1], chidori are not specific to Japan and are found worldwide.


Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

Chidori is an interesting motif on kimono and you can be forgiven for being confused by it's seasonal use. Traditionally classed as winter motif, chidori is most commonly featured on summer items to evoke the coolness of winter.

In order to determine the correct season, type of weight and weave of fabric must be considered along with whether it is lined and any additional motifs.

Common Motif Pairings

  • Wave - known specifically as Nami no Chidori (winter and summer)
  • Water swirls (winter and summer)
  • pine (winter)

Auspicious Nature

Due to the chidori's cry of chiyo, a homonym for 'chiyo 千代' which means "1000 generations", chidori are considered an auspicious motif.[2] Therefore, it would be acceptable to wear chidori out of season to celebratory occasions where you wanted to express your wish of "long life" (i.e: weddings, formal birthday dinners, etc).

Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

In Poetry

The famous haiku poet, Issa (1763-1828) often referenced chidori in his haiku[3]:

Pontocho Hanamachi Kamon

Chidori Lantern in Pontocho
Copyright Chie Gondo

ashibi taku tarai no naka mo chidori kana

even in the tub
where reeds are burning...
a plover![4]


The chidori is also the kamon for the geiko hanamachi of Pontocho, with fondness of the plovers on the banks of the Kamogawa.

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions


  1. Shorebirds in Japan
  2. Jaanus - search "chidori"
  3. archive of Issa haiku with chidori
  4. Issa haiku about plovers in winter

Image Credits

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Naomi Graham Hormozi (Immortal Geisha (IG Username))

Contributors: n/a