There are many theories and legends about the meaning of this song. Some think it takes place at a checkpoint (“leaving is easy, but it is scary to return”); some say it takes place at a shrine. (source)

Lyrics - Romaji

(Nagayo Motoori or Ujo Noguchi, 1920, Japan)

Tōryanse, tōryanse
koko wa doko no, hosomichi ja
tenjin sama no, hosomichi ja
chitto tōshite, oroshi yanse
goyō no nai mono, tōshasenu
kono ko no nanatsu no, oiwai ni
osatsu o osame ni, mairimasu
iki wa yoi yoi, kaeri wa kowai
kowainagara mo
Tōryanse, tōryanse

English Translation - Pass by

Pass by, pass by
Which narrow road is this?
Tenjin-sama’s narrow path
Just let it pass and go down
I cannot pass on anything that is not needed.
To celebrate this child’s seventh birthday
I will come to pay the bills.
Good going, scary going home
Even though it’s scary
Pass by, pass by

Japanese - 通りゃんせ

通りゃんせ 通りゃんせ
ここはどこの 細道じゃ
天神さまの 細道じゃ
ちっと通して 下しゃんせ
御用のないもの 通しゃせぬ
この子の七つの お祝いに
お札を納めに まいります
行きはよいよい 帰りはこわい
通りゃんせ 通りゃんせ


Formation: Two students face each other with hands touching, forming an arch. The rest of the students form a line.

When the song is sung, students go under the arch until the last song, when the arch comes down, trapping a student. That replaces one of the students forming an arch.

This song is also sung at crosswalks. While the song is sung, it is safe to cross. When the song ends, it has become unsafe. (source)

See also


  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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