Ichimoku Indicator – Giving a Clear Picture

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Ichimoku Indicator – Giving a Clear Picture

Price is the ultimate indicator, as it’s the only thing upon which your profits are determined. Yet many traders like to use indicators. While indicators are only manipulations of price data, they can provide you with insight that you may not be seeing in the price movement itself. For those who like indicators, the Ichimoku Kinko Hyu or “Ichimoku cloud” is an indicator that deserves a bit of study. There are many ways to use the indicator, but one way stands out in my mind. The Ichimoku indicator is a visual way to trade, and can very quickly give you a snapshot of the health of a trend, whether a trade is worth taking or if a trend is reversing.

At first this indicator can be a little overwhelming, and adding it to your chart will clutter things up a bit. Fear not though, as this will likely be one of the only overlay indicators you need, and for the most part I only focus one major aspect of the indicator–the cloud. More on that shortly.

Add the indicator in a charting platform and you’ll be asked to input some default values for the indicator. Here are the default values for the various lines:

Tenkan-Sen (Conversion Line): 9 Periods

Kijun-Sen (Base Line): 26 Periods

Senkou Span A: This isn’t usually asked for as it’s the mid-point of the Conversion and Base line.

Senkou Span B: 52 Periods

Chikou Span (Lagging Span): 26 Periods

Once you are familiar with the indicator, and are using it effectively you may find adjusting the values slightly helps with your particular time frame, strategy or market.

After inputting the values, you’ll see something like Figure 1.

Figure 1. USD/CHF – 1 Hour Chart with Ichimoku Kinko Hyo

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A little confusing, but remember, when first learning this indicator you only need to concern yourself with the “cloud.” The cloud is the dotted white lines that move along with the price, as indicated on the chart.

Ichimoku Cloud Interpretation

By focusing just on the cloud, you can quickly extract a lot of information from a price chart. The cloud can be used to confirm trend, indicate reversals, determine strength or weakness as well as give you “no trade zones.” Here is how the cloud does each of these things.

Confirming Trends: Similar to a simple moving average, when the price is trading above the cloud this typically signals that the asset is in an uptrend. When the price is trading below the cloud this typically indicates the asset is in a downtrend, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. USD/CHF – 1 Hour Ichimoku Downtrend

Indicating Reversals: Strong uptrends or downtrends usually stay above or below the cloud respectively. Pullbacks (moves against the trend) will often “bounce” off of the cloud or penetrate it slightly but then resume the trend direction. If the price moves fully through the cloud it indicates a reversal of the trend is potentially underway.

Determine Strength and Weakness: The thicker the cloud typically the harder it will be to pierce. On the other hand, if the cloud is very thin it indicates indecision and that the trend losing a bit of steam. A thin cloud does not indicate a reversal though; it simply is showing that the trend doesn’t have as much momentum currently, relative to prior price action.

Using “No Trade” Zones: Since we are using the cloud to help isolate trends, reversals and strength/weakness, establishing a no trade zone helps to clear up any conflicting signals which may arise. When the price enters the cloud, don’t take new positions. Wait to see what happens; either the former trend will continue and you can trade with it, or the price will move right through the cloud indicating there may be a reversal trade.

Putting it Together

Ultimately, the best strategies are the ones that align your trades with the trend. The cloud helps you see the trend so you can trade with it. If the trend is up, you want to buy (calls) when the price drops toward the cloud but then begins to bounce off of it, moving higher once again. If the trend is down, you want to short (buy puts) when the price rallies toward the cloud, bounces off it and starts moving lower again. When the price enters the cloud, hold off on making a trade until the price starts trading either above or below the cloud, and then use the strategy mentioned above. This approach allows for a lot of information to be quickly absorbed, allowing you to decide if a potential trade is possible or if it’s better to wait. While all indicators have their weaknesses, and losing trades will always occur, Ichimoku is good for traders who like the visual nature of indicators and are looking for a quick way to assess trades.

Best Ichimoku Strategy for Quick Profits

Best Ichimoku Strategy for Quick Profits

The best Ichimoku strategy is a technical indicator system used to assess the markets. This unique strategy provides trading signals of a different quality. Forex trading involves substantial risk of loss. Although, with Ichimoku cloud trading, those losses are contained and kept small.

The Ichimoku system is a Japanese charting method and a technical analysis method. Our team at Trading Strategy Guides mastered the method over a long period of time.

The Ichimoku indicator was published in 1969 by a reporter, Ichimoku Kinkou Hyo, in Japan. This candlestick trading technique has stood the test of time.

The name Ichimoku tells a lot about the trading system, or at least it gives a description of the system.

Ichimoku = “One look, glance”.

Kinkou = “Balance, equilibrium”.

Hyo = “Chart, Graph”.

Ichimoku cloud trading attempts to identify a probable direction of price. It helps the trader determine the most suitable time to enter and exit the market by providing you with the trend direction. It gives you reliable support and resistance levels and the strength of these market signals.

Before we delve deeper into the Ichimoku Cloud strategy, let’s look at the indicators needed to successfully trade the strategy.

The most popular Forex trading platforms use the Ichimoku Cloud indicator. The Ichimoku indicator paints all the components needed to help visualize the price action better. The Ichimoku cloud is one of the most comprehensive technical indicators in modern use. Unsurprisingly, it has quickly become the “go-to” indicator for forex traders around the world.

In the Ichimoku cloud section, we are going to give you an in-depth overview of the Ichimoku components.

So, before moving forward, let’s define all the Ichimoku Cloud components. We will review how to correctly interpret the trade signals generated by this technical indicator.

Ichimoku Cloud Explained

The Ichimoku Hinko Hyo is a momentum indicator used to recognize the direction of the trend. It can also define accurate support and resistance levels. The Ichimoku Cloud indicator consists of five main components that provide you with reliable trade signals:

  1. Tenkan-Sen line, also called the Conversion Line, represents the midpoint of the last 9 candlesticks. It’s calculated with the following Ichimoku formula: [(9-period high + 9-period low)/2].
  2. Kijun-Sen line, also called the Base Line, represents the midpoint of the last 26 candlesticks. It’s calculated with the following formula: [(26-period high + 26-period low)/2].
  3. Chiou Span, also called the Lagging Span, lags behind the price (as the name suggests). The Lagging Span is plotted 26 periods back.
  4. Senkou Span A, also called the Leading Span A, represents one of the two Cloud boundaries and it’s the midpoint between the Conversion Line and the Base Line: [(Conversion Line + Base Line)/2]. This value is plotted 26 periods into the future and it’s the faster Cloud boundary.
  5. Senkou Span B, or the Leading Span B, represents the second Cloud boundaries and it’s the midpoint of the last 52 price bars: [(52-period high + 52-period low)/2]. This value is plotted 52 periods into the future and it’s the slower Cloud boundary.
  6. Chikou Span, represents the closing price and is plotted 26 days back.

While the Ichimoku Cloud indicator involves multiple (five) different lines, reading the graph is actually very easy. Using the trend lines mentioned above, you will then need to determine whether Leading Span A or Leading Span B is currently higher.

Once Leading Span A and Leading Span B have been identified, the “cloud” component of this graph will be shaded in. When Leading Span B is above Leading Span A, this indicates to traders that price momentum is currently increasing. When this is the case, the graph will be shaded green.

On the other hand, when Leading Span A is below Leading Span B, the underlying asset is likely moving in a negative direction. When this happens, the cloud will be shaded red. Despite the graph’s complications, simply looking at the colors of the cloud can help you determine the direction of the market.

Here are some basic interpretations of the Ichimoku charts:

  • When the price is above the Cloud, we’re in a bullish trend.
  • When the price is below the Cloud, we’re in a bearish trend.
  • When the price is in the middle of the cloud the trend is consolidating or ranging.

Furthermore, the Ichimoku charting technique provides bullish and bearish signals of various strengths.

When the Tenkan crosses Kijun from below, it is considered a bullish signal. When the Taken crosses the Kijun from above, it is considered a bearish signal. The Kijun line is shown as the red line above.

The strength of the Ichimoku trading signals are assessed based on three factors:

  • How far away is the price movement relative to the Cloud?
  • How far away is the Chiou Span relative to the Cloud?
  • How far away is the Cross-over relative to the Cloud?

Because many of the lines on the Ichimoku Cloud chart are created using averages, the chart is often compared to a simple moving average chart. However, Ichimoku is more dynamic than a simple moving average chart as it’s designed to help detect changes in support and resistance.

The relationship between Leading Span A and Leading Span B will indicate whether there is a strong downtrend or uptrend. Pay attention to both the color (green for bullish, red for bearish) and the size of the cloud. When the “cloud” between these lines is small, then the trend will not be very strong.

The Ichimoku Cloud is useful for day traders and others who need to make quick decisions. The cloud is often paired with other technical indicators, such as the Relative Strength Index, in order for traders to get a complete picture of resistance and support. Many traders will also look out for crossovers in order to determine when trends have reversed.

Ichimoku cloud trading requires a lot of self-discipline. This is because you have to wait for the best trade signals. We’re going to use the default settings of the Ichimoku Cloud system.

Now, let’s move one step forward and learn how to make money by applying the Ichimoku trading rules.

Note* Moving forward, we’re not going to delete the Lagging Span moving average from our charts. This is because we don’t base our trade decision on it since it’s lagging the price.

The Best Ichimoku Strategy – Buy Rules

The Ichimoku Cloud system is designed to keep traders on the right side of the market. Our trading rules will help you follow the trend for as long as possible. At least until it’s clear that a reversal is occurring. The Ichimoku system suits swing trading best. This is because it maximizes profits while minimizing the risk involved in trading. Here is how to identify the right swing to boost your profit.

The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo best time frame is the one that fits you best. As we don’t have a preferred time frame.

This swing trading strategy will teach you how to ride the trend right from the beginning. You will also learn how to capture as many profits as possible.

Ichimoku Cloud Trading: Step by Step

Step #1 Wait for the Price to Break and close above the Ichimoku Cloud.

Ichimoku cloud trading requires the price to trade above the Cloud. This is because it’s a bullish signal and potentially the beginning of a new up-trend.

The cloud is built to highlight support and resistance levels. It highlights several layers deep because support and resistance is not a single line drawn in the sand. It is several layers deep.

So, when we break above or below the Ichimoku Cloud, it signals a deep shift in the market sentiment.

A high probability trade setup requires more layers of confluence before pulling the trigger.

This brings us to our next requirement for a high probability trade setup.

Step #2 Wait for the Crossover: The Conversion Line needs to break above the Base Line.

The price breakout above the Cloud needs is followed by the crossover of the Conversion Line above the Base Line. Once these two conditions are fulfilled, we can look to enter a trade.

The Ichimoku Cloud indicator is a very complex technical indicator. The indicator is even used as a moving average crossover strategy.

Now, we’re going to lay down a very simple entry technique for the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo trading system.

Step #3 Buy after the crossover at the opening of the next candle.

Ideally, any long trades using the Ichimoku strategy are taken when the price is trading above the Cloud. Our team at the TSG website has adopted a more conservative approach. We added an extra factor of confluence before pulling the trigger on a trade.

So, after the crossover, we buy at the opening of the next candle.

(Notice the strong buy signal in the graph below.)

The next important thing we need to establish is where to place our protective stop loss.

Step #4 Place protective stop loss below the breakout candle.

The ideal location to hide our protective stop loss is below the low of the breakout candle. This trading technique accomplishes two major things. Here is an example of a master candle setup.

First, it’s significantly lowering the risk of losing big money. Second, it helps us trade with the market order flow.

Since this is a swing trading strategy, we’re looking to capture as much as possible from this presumably new trend. We’ll be looking to trail our stop loss level below the Cloud or exit the position once a new crossover happens in the opposite direction.

The next logical thing we need to establish for the Ichimoku trading system is where to take profits.

Step #5 Take Profit when the Conversion Line crosses below the Base Line.

We only need one simple condition to be satisfied with our take profit strategy.

When the conversion line crosses below the baseline we want to take profits and exit our trade.

Alternatively, you can wait until the price breaks below the Cloud, but this means risking to lose some parts of your profits. In order to gain more, sometimes you have to be willing to lose some.

Note** the above was an example of a BUY trade using the advanced Ichimoku trading strategies. Use the same rules for a SELL trade – but in reverse. In the figure below, you can see an actual SELL trade example.

(See the strong sell signal in the conversion line.)

Conclusion: Ichimoku Cloud Explained

The best Ichimoku strategy is slightly different than probably anything you’re used to when it comes down to technical analysis. If you’re having a very difficult time finding true support and resistance, please apply the Ichimoku cloud trading techniques highlighted in this course.

We hope that by now you’re convinced that the Ichimoku Cloud system is a good way of identifying the trends and profit from trading any market on any time frame. It can easily capture 80% of the trend if you follow the rules in the Ichimoku Cloud explained section.

Thank you for reading!

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How to use Ichimoku for better trades

In our last article on Ichimoku, we learned what Ichimoku is. Now, let’s see how we can use it to increase our trading profits and improve our trading decisions.

The Ichimoku indicator allows you to visualise support and resistance levels, to identify current and future trend direction, to gauge momentum and to see buying and selling signals. You can consider this indicator to be a comprehensive analysis system all by itself, as it gives you all the necessary information required to make trading decisions.

Read our previous article to learn more about this versatile indicator: ICHIMOKU TRADING: THE ONLY GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED TO READ

We are now going to analyse a currency pair using only this indicator. This is where another important concept will come into play: multi-timeframe analysis. To better understand the way an underlying currency pair is going to trend, you need to look at it using different timeframes.

2 examples on several different time frames

  • Example 1: USD/JPY at the end of the week finishing on the 18 th of November

Whenever you are not familiar with the underlying asset you want to trade, or you want to have a deeper understand of it, it’s best to start with a monthly chart.

The first thing to look at here is where prices are in comparison to the cloud: they are above – but not far from – a thick green cloud, which is a bullish signal.

Next, let’s focus on the Tenkan (red line) and the Kijun (blue one) lines. This month, prices broke through the Tenkan, but they will soon meet the Kijun, which may act as resistance. Overall though, the way is relatively clear for price action to continue upwards.

Now, let’s have a look at the Lagging Span (fluorescent green line) to see how probable the continuation of this upward movement is, and what its potential may be. A few months ago, we can see that the Lagging Span bounced back from prices and is now above prices, as well as the Tenkan and the Kijun lines – which is bullish.

So, based on this time frame, I have an overall bullish view on this currency pair, even though prices are soon going to have to cross the Kijun line, as well as another resistance level just above the Kijun line (which you can see is tracing the SSB – the red outline of the cloud – at the 112.819 level).

You can also see on the below chart that a 3 rd resistance from the SSA line of the cloud in the future also has to be crossed upwards – the 111.787 level.

Let’s now go down to a smaller time frame.

On the weekly chart, we can see that prices are below the red cloud, but they are getting very close to where the cloud isn’t particularly thick – it’s not a “twist”, but cloud resistance may be weak enough that price action breaks through.

Prices are above the Tenkan and Kijun lines, and the Tenkan is on the verge of crossing over the Kijun. The Tenkan line is supposed to give us a hint about the strength of the short-term trend with the inclination of its slope. We can see here that the Tenkan is following the price’s steep incline.

The Lagging Span just crossed over the Tenkan and the current price, but the line might easily go back below if prices weaken next week. There is still some space before the Kijun line, but the Lagging Span should overcome it, and then the cloud, for the upward movement to be complete.

There is something very interesting that we can see on the following chart: a very important resistance level that the price will have to break before entering the cloud: this level has acted as both support and resistance for the cloud, as well as the past Kijun line – the 111.363.

With this time frame, even though prices are below the cloud, we have some bullish signs with the recent acceleration of prices, but bullish potential is limited with those important resistances levels below the cloud.

Let’s now go down to the smallest time frame we will use in this example.

In the daily chart, we can see that prices are above the cloud, the Tenkan and the Kijun lines, so prices are free from any obstacles to go up, as is the Lagging Span. You can also see 2 important resistance levels coming from past SSB and Kijun lines – 111.05 and 116.288.

To sum up, the USD/JPY pair is in a clear bullish trend, as shown by the monthly and daily analyses. But we have also noticed some important resistance levels, where market participants may react and stop the current movement: 111.78 with the monthly chart, 111.36 with the weekly chart, and 111.05 with the daily chart. Prices are also below the cloud with the weekly time frame.

Once everything is cleared, prices will have no obstacle to continue rising.

  • Example 2: EUR/AUD at the end of the week finishing the 18 th of November

You can also use this methodology with shorter time frames. A short-term trader will start by analysing a 4h chart, a 1h chart, a 15 min chart and a 5 minutes chart to finish.

Here, it’s about having a view of the global price’s evolution.

With a 4h chart, we can see that prices just arrived inside the red cloud. This is supposed to reflect a neutral situation, and we should pay attention to the way prices are going to go out from the cloud. Are they going to head back down, are they going to accelerate up and break through the cloud, or will it trend sideways?

Prices are above the Tenkan and the Kijun lines, and the Lagging Span is above the prices, the cloud and the Tenkan, but still below the Kijun line.

The currency pair is above the green cloud, the Tenkan and Kijun lines, and the Lagging Span is free of any obstacles, as it is above prices, the cloud, the Tenkan and Kijun lines.

As we can see in the following chart, the SSB’s past levels could be future resistance levels.

Here is the interesting thing: if you keep the lower resistance level, but you change the timeframe to 4h, it is now the cloud’s present SSB level. So, this is an important level you should keep in mind.

After a somewhat neutral 4h chart, the 1h chart shows a bullish situation, as prices are free to move up. However, the last candle is black and might be heading towards the Tenkan and the Kijun lines – the last of which will play the role of a support level. You can’t ignore the 2 important resistance levels either – 1.4476 and 1.4512.

Prices are above a green cloud, above the Kijun lines, but below the Tenkan. The Lagging Span is above everything, but heading down towards prices, as they broke the upward trend line and are heading towards the Kijun line.

We kept the same parameters in this 5min chart. If you look closely, you can see that prices entered the green cloud, breaking the upward trend line while going below the Tenkan and the Kijun lines, all at the same time (see red circle). The Lagging Span is also below prices, as well as the Tenkan and Kijun lines, but still above the cloud.

To sum up, the EUR/AUD pair isn’t giving very clear signs right now. The 4 hour chart shows that the currency pair is in the cloud. Once inside it, the market is considered to be without trend and highly uncertain. This is a sign that the previous trend is trying to change. The side where prices are going to go out from the cloud is crucial information about the future and former trend of the market.

On shorter time frames, we can see that prices are losing momentum, as they can’t form higher highs. Remember that in DOW Theory: “an upward trend is a series of successively higher peaks and higher troughs”.

Which methodology should you apply?

First, you should focus on the current price situation, delayed prices, and their positioning among the Ichimoku system. You should then consider the following:

  • Where are the prices compared to the cloud?
  • How is the cloud evolving?
  • How far/close are prices from important support/resistance levels (from the Tenkan Sen and Kijun Sen lines)?
  • Is the Lagging Span close to running into obstacles or free to move?

Secondly, it’s about finding out which information brings each line to the global understanding of the markets. You should therefore consider the following:

  • How is the Tenkan Sen line compared to the prices?
  • Are prices about to break a resistance/support area – Kijun Sen?
  • How are prices in relation to the cloud? To the SSA or SSB? Knowing that it will be easier for prices to break through an SSA than a SSB.
  • Is the cloud thick or can I see a twist nearby? Remember that it’s always easier for prices to break through a thin twist than a thick cloud.
  • Is the Lagging Span confirming the price’s movement?
  • What are the obstacles that can slow the Lagging Span’s progression?

Finally, it’s important to have the big picture in mind, regardless of your trading horizon. It’s better to monitor the evolution of each line on different timeframes. You should keep in mind the following:

  • A longer timeframe is used to determine the trend: uptrend, downtrend or a range
  • Shorter timeframes are mostly used to determine entry and exit points: finding opportunities to enter the market

Some rules to follow

You are now aware of the importance of looking at charts with a multi-time frame approach, which will help you better understand the evolution of the underlying assets, and better time your trading entries and exits.

Using 3 different timeframes in your trading platform allows you to sharpen your entry and exit levels, to better place your stop-loss and take-profit according to your money management strategy. You can also react faster if there is a change in your objectives.

With this concept of time, here are 3 rules you should always follow while trading based on Ichimoku:

  1. You need to know how to switch between timeframes to be able to select the 3 most important to keep in front of your eyes while trading
  2. Do not anticipate the moment you will enter the market you absolutely need to wait for a signal confirmation before you open your position – even if that means that you are “losing” a few PIPs at first.
  3. Wait for the closing value of the current candle on the time frame you are using – especially on small time frames. This 3 rd point is linked to the 2 nd

1 strategy with Ichimoku: using the cloud and Kijun’s breakout

There are several strategies you can use with the Ichimoku indicator. Some traders will use all the lines of the indicator, but others like to base their strategies on some of the Ichimoku lines while ignoring others. We will focus here on a trading strategy using the cloud and the Kijun line, with prices’ breakouts.

Reminder: analysing prices in comparison to the cloud help you visualize the current trend. There is an uptrend if prices are above the cloud, and a downtrend if prices are below. In this strategy, we will use it as such to enter the market with the following rules:

  • If prices > cloud, then we are only looking for buying opportunities
  • If prices
  • Weak/Unreliable SignalsBuying signal: when prices break above the Kijun line, below the cloudSelling signal: when prices break below the Kijun line, above the cloud
  • Neutral signals Buying signal: when prices break above the Kijun line, inside the cloudSelling signal: when prices break below the Kijun line, inside the cloud
  • Strong signalsBuying signal: when prices break above the Kijun line, above the cloudSelling signal: when prices break below the Kijun line, below the cloud

As we said before, this strategy can be very effective with periods of intense volatility. As we can’t really predict volatility, the Kijun’s position in comparison to the cloud will help you to gauge opportunities. Once a position is opened, you can use the Kijun line as a stop-loss.


The Ichimoku indicator allows you to instantaneously visualise the state of equilibrium of the market, regardless of the underlying asset or the time frame. The reading of the different lines together, as well as compared to the prices, reinforce the reliability of the signals provided by this indicator.

You can either combine Ichimoku with the indicators that you currently use, or you can rely on it as your sole analysis tool. Whatever you decide, it will most likely serve you well.


Our goal is to share this passion with others and guide newbies to avoid costly mistakes. Today we want to share all our knowledge and insights, so you can take your trading skills to the next level.

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