The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo indicator has become one of the most popular technical analysis tools used by forex traders over the past few decades. This versatile indicator provides a comprehensive overview of support and resistance levels, market momentum, and trend direction. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to use the Ichimoku indicator when trading currencies.

Introduction to Ichimoku Kinko Hyo

The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo, also known simply as Ichimoku, is a technical charting system used to analyze market trends and momentum. It was developed in the late 1930s by Goichi Hosada, a journalist in Japan. The name Ichimoku Kinko Hyo translates to “one glance equilibrium chart” – representing the key benefit of quickly analyzing market conditions at a glance.

ichimoku chart

Unlike many other technical indicators that rely solely on price action, Ichimoku incorporates multiple data points to provide traders with a more complete picture. The indicator contains five main components that are used together to identify support and resistance levels, market momentum, and trend direction. These components include:

Tenkan-Sen Line

The Tenkan-Sen is the fastest moving line, calculated as the average of the highest high and lowest low over the past 9 periods. It acts as a momentum indicator and shows short-term market sentiment.

Kijun-Sen Line

The Kijun-Sen represents the mid-point price level over the past 26 periods. It acts as an indicator of the broader trend.

Senkou Span A

Senkou Span A (Leading Span A) is the average of the Tenkan-Sen line and the Kijun-Sen line, plotted 26 periods ahead. It forms one edge of the Ichimoku “cloud”.

Senkou Span B

Senkou Span B (Leading Span B) is the average of the highest high and lowest low over the past 52 periods, plotted 26 periods ahead. It forms the other edge of the Ichimoku cloud.

Chikou Span

The Chikou Span (Lagging Span) plots the closing price 26 periods back, to act as a support or resistance indicator.

Together, these components create the distinctive Ichimoku charting system used to identify trading opportunities and market momentum.

How to Read Ichimoku Charts

When first looking at an Ichimoku chart, it can seem overly complex compared to simple candlestick charts. However, with a little practice, traders can quickly analyze and interpret the key data points. Here is a step-by-step guide to reading Ichimoku charts:

ichimoku settings

1. Identify Trend Direction

Locate where the Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen lines intersect in relation to the price action. If Tenkan-Sen is above the Kijun-Sen, it signals an upward trend. If it is below, it signals a downward trend.

2. Assess Momentum

Compare the distance between the Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen. If they are moving away from each other, it indicates strong momentum in the direction of the trend. If they move closer together, it signals weakening momentum.

3. Look at the Cloud

The cloud is formed by the Senkou Span A and B lines. The color of the cloud indicates market sentiment – green for bullish, red for bearish. If price is above the cloud, it indicates an upward trend.

4. Consider Future Support/Resistance

The edges of the cloud often act as areas of future support or resistance, particularly when price approaches from the opposite side of the cloud. The Chikou Span also acts as a support/resistance level.

5. Confirm the Signals

Use the signals derived from the Ichimoku components in conjunction with other indicators or analysis to confirm emerging trends and potential trade opportunities.

Ichimoku Trading Strategies

The Ichimoku charting system offers traders a variety of strategies to profit from market trends across different timeframes. Here are some of the most common Ichimoku strategies:

Trend Trading

One of the most basic uses of Ichimoku is to identify the overall market trend on higher timeframes, such as the 4-hour or daily chart. Traders can enter long positions when the Ichimoku components indicate an upward trend, or short positions when they indicate a downward trend.

Entry: Price breakout in the direction of the trend, confirmed with volume increase

Exit: Tenkan-Sen crossover or price break of Kijun-Sen in opposite direction

Momentum Surf Trading

This strategy involves looking for developing momentum in the direction of the trend by watching for increasing distance between the Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen lines. Traders enter positions as momentum accelerates and exits as it starts fading.

Entry: Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen diverge, confirmed with spike in trading volume

Exit: Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen converge

Cloud Breakout Trading

A cloud breakout strategy looks to enter positions when price breaks above or below the Senkou Span A or B lines that form the Ichimoku cloud boundaries. This signals emerging support or resistance levels.

Entry: Price break through cloud boundary, confirmed by spike in volume

Exit: Price fails to hold above/below cloud

Cloud Edge Trading

With this strategy, traders look to buy near the Senkou Span B line when it holds as support, or sell near the Span A line when it holds as resistance. The cloud edges often act as areas of reversals.

Entry: Price pullback to test cloud boundary as new support/resistance

Exit: Break of cloud edge support/resistance level

Crossover Trading

The Tenkan-Sen/Kijun-Sen crossover strategy looks for trades when the faster Tenkan-Sen line crosses over the slower Kijun-Sen line, signaling a change in the momentum and trend.

Entry: Tenkan-Sen crosses over Kijun-Sen in direction of the trend

Exit: Tenkan-Sen crosses back below/above the Kijun-Sen

Chikou Span Crossover

This strategy looks for the current price to cross over the lagging Chikou Span line, which acts as support or resistance. The crossover confirms the emerging trend direction.

Entry: Price crossover of Chikou Span in direction of trend

Exit: Price fails to hold above/below Chikou Span

Optimizing Ichimoku Trading Parameters

The standard Ichimoku settings utilize 9, 26, and 52 period Tenkan-Sen, Kijun-Sen, and Senkou Span calculations. However, traders can optimize these parameters for different trading timeframes or market conditions. Some guidelines include:

  • Faster settings – Use lower periods when trading short timeframes under the 1-hour chart. E.g. 5, 13, 26 periods. Provides quicker signals.
  • Slower settings – Use higher periods when trend trading the 4-hour or daily chart. E.g. 20, 60, 120 periods. Provides smoother signals.
  • Volatile markets – Widen the parameters. E.g. 14, 40, 60 periods. Reduces noise.
  • Ranging markets – Tighten the parameters. E.g. 6, 20, 26 periods. Increases sensitivity.

Always backtest parameter adjustments before using them live to ensure they fit your strategy.

Pros and Cons of Ichimoku Trading

Here are some of the key benefits and limitations to keep in mind when using the Ichimoku system:


  • Provides trading signals across various timeframes
  • Identifies support/resistance and momentum clearly
  • Cloud visualize market sentiment and trends
  • Indicates reversals and emerging trends early
  • Can be customized through optimize parameters


  • Many components makes it seem complicated initially
  • Too many conflicting signals can arise
  • Lags price movement across longer timeframes
  • Works best for trending rather than ranging markets
  • Not ideal for very short-term trading

Using Ichimoku With Other Indicators

While the Ichimoku system contains a wealth of market data within itself, many traders also combine it with additional indicators or analysis for confirmation. Some examples include:

  • Price action analysis (candlestick patterns, chart patterns)
  • Volume indicators (for confirmation of breakouts)
  • Momentum oscillators (RSI, Stochastic)
  • Volatility indicators (Average True Range)
  • Moving averages for dynamic support/resistance

Using complementary indicators that fill gaps not covered by Ichimoku can provide a more robust trading approach. Always backtest combinations thoroughly first.

Ichimoku Trading Tips and Common Mistakes

Here are some useful tips for effectively trading with Ichimoku, as well as some common mistakes to avoid:


  • Use Ichimoku in conjunction with price action context. Don’t rely solely on indicator signals.
  • Determine overall market trend on higher timeframes first. Then look for trades in that direction on lower timeframes.
  • Adjust parameters to suit your trading timeframe and style. Default settings may not optimize results.
  • Wait for confirmation from multiple components before entering trades. Isolated signals are less reliable.
  • Be patient when waiting for high probability setups to develop. Don’t force trades.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Entering positions too early before confirmations emerge
  • Trading in range-bound markets with lots of false signals
  • Overcomplicating analysis rather than focusing on high probability setups
  • Ignoring price action and market context around signals
  • Failing to manage risk by not using stop losses

Ichimoku Cloud Charting Platforms

The Ichimoku indicator is available on most charting platforms and trading software. Some platforms with extensive Ichimoku integration and settings customization include:

  • MetaTrader 4/5 – Popular trading platform with fully customizable Ichimoku setup
  • TradingView – Web-based charting with Ichimoku and dozens of other indicators
  • NinjaTrader – Advanced charting software for day traders with indicators
  • Sierra Chart – Professional trading platform with complete Ichimoku configurations
  • Thinkorswim – From TD Ameritrade, with charting and analysis tools

Make sure to try different charting platforms to find the one that best suits your Ichimoku trading requirements. Consider availability of other complementary indicators in addition to Ichimoku capabilities.

Wrapping Up Ichimoku Strategies

The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo system provides traders with an “at-a-glance” method to assess market trends, momentum, support/resistance levels, and trade signal opportunities across all timeframes. It can be a versatile addition for forex and CFD traders looking to trade with the major trend direction.

Keep in mind, however, that no single indicator provides a “magic bullet” for trading success. Ichimoku works best when combined with price action analysis and an understanding of overall market conditions. As with any indicator, always backtest strategies thoroughly and use prudent risk management on your live trading account.

If applied properly, the unique Ichimoku chart components can provide you with an edge in identifying high probability trades. But nothing substitutes for skill, experience, and discipline in execution. Master the key strategies outlined above, and the Ichimoku indicator may take your forex trading results to new heights.