Hinamatsuri Doll festival is not just for girls!
The traditional doll display features miniature dolls that are replicas of the ancient Heian royal court in Kyoto. So it’s a celebration for anyone into Japanese History and traditions.
Hina means small doll and Matsuri means festival in Japanese.
Officially, the Hina Matsuri Festival is celebrated on March 3rd. But read along for Tips on how to see these decorative traditional figures aside from this date.
The Japanese Doll Festival is celebrated throughout Japan.
What is The Japanese Doll Festival?
- This is the day families with young daughters pray for their health and future happiness. A Japanese girl knows in her heart that her dolls wish her happiness even when they are not on display.
- On this day, girls display their special doll collections. These miniature dolls are not the everyday dolls usually played with but ceremonial dolls passed down from mother to daughter. The dolls are dressed in kimono fabrics and have well-crafted tiny instruments, furniture, and a unique facial expression and personality. A set of Hina dolls consists of at least 15 dolls.
- The dolls are exhibited on a tiered staircase, or shelves, covered with majestic red silk cloth. The emperor doll and empress doll are presented on the top shelf. The stairs below have dolls that represent court ladies, ministers, and servants.
- On Doll’s festival, Japanese girls dress in their little kimonos and visit friends’ doll displays, and have tea parties with pink rice cakes.
- The dolls are displayed for a few days in the best room of the house, after which they are carefully put away until the next year. The Japanese have a superstition about Hina matsuri that If a girl doesn’t put away her dolls immediately after the Hina Festival, she will not get married.
- The Hina Matsuri festival is also called Peach Day. Peach blossoms are associated with a happy marriage, and feminine traits.
When is Hinamatsuri Held?
Hinamatsuri is celebrated on March 3rd each year.
Where Can you Enjoy the Japanese Doll Festival?
The Hina-Matsuri Festival is usually celebrated at home, but families with girls often visit their local temple on this date.
What’s wonderful is that many of the Tokyo museums and other locations display the Hina dolls on various other periods throughout the year, so even if you miss the exact festival day, you may be still able to enjoy the displays.
Kobayashi Doll Museum in Tokyo
Visit the small museum, Kobayashi Doll Museum, in Tokyo to observe the traditional method of handcrafting Japanese dolls. Dolls like the ones displayed in this museum are seen in Japanese homes on Girl’s Day on 3 March.
Address: Yahiro Sumida-ku Tokyo
How to Get There: Yahiro subway Station
The History of Hina Matsuri Doll Festival
This festival originates in the Heian Period about 1,000 years ago.
The roots of the doll festival tradition come from girls in Japanese royal families that used to play with paper or cloth Hina dolls, which were said to hold bad spirits. Towards the 19th century, the custom of displaying the dolls had become a relatively common standard. The dolls are modeled after the lifestyle of families from a thousand years ago.