Uncover the Cherished Traditions of Japan’s Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day)


Want to discover more about a country’s culture? The simplest method to dive right in is by having a look at their yearly vacations. Take the United States, for instance: President’s Day highlights a nationwide pride in governmental successes and American democracy as an entire, while the federal acknowledgment of Christmas indicate the nation’s Christian roots.

In a culture greatly affected by Buddhist and Shinto worths, Japan’s vacations commemorate whatever from marine life to health and sports. The majority of significant are the days committed to honoring particular groups of individuals: the kids, the senior, the “coming-of-age,” and when it comes to Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), the health and joy of girls.

Hinamatsuri is a vacation defined by sophisticated screens and elaborate dolls. Listed below, we’ll have a look at the event’s various origins, customs, and cities where you can see these unbelievable exhibitions face to face!

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What is Hinamatsuri in Japan?

Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), likewise referred to as Girls’ Day or Dolls’ Day, is a Shinto spiritual vacation that commemorates the happiness and wellness of girls. This “doll celebration” is appropriately called. Dolls using Heian duration clothes are set on multi-tiered altars, each tier of which represents a part of the Japanese royal court because period.

On March 3 and the days before it, ladies have celebrations with loved ones while the dolls are on screen. Households with ladies commemorate it from birth up until she is 10 years old. A child’s very first Hinamatsuri is a crucial turning point for the household! Kids do not typically get involved, however kids no matter gender are commemorated on a different vacation, which occurs every year on May 5th.

As you discover more about Hinamatsuri, you might discover a popular manga and anime series by the exact same name. The plot does not have much to do with the vacation! The title rather describes among the primary characters, a girl called Hina with telekinetic powers.

Understanding the history of Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri goes back over 1,000 years and is a mix of a number of customs. The specific origins of Momo no Sekku, the initial peach celebration, are uncertain. The most likely theory is that it was presented from China in the 3rd century. Moms and dads quickly began carrying out a routine comparable to the nagashi-bina near the celebration to bring health to their kids throughout a time of high kid death.

Displaying dolls in the home didn’t ended up being popular up until the Edo duration (1603– 1868). The doll plan was very first produced by Tokugawa Masako, the empress accompaniment to Emperor Go-Mizunoo, in 1629 when her hubby renounced and her child, Princess Meisho, prospered the throne. At the time, female emperors were not permitted to wed. The initial screen illustrated her child having the wedding event that she would not get in reality. In 1687, the name of the celebration was altered from Momo no Sekku to Hinamatsuri.

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When is Hinamatsuri commemorated in Japan?

Hinamatsuri is hung on March 3rd of every year as one of 5 seasonal celebrations (五節句, gosekku) that are typically connected to the Chinese calendar. The others consist of:

  • New Year (January 1st)
  • Tango no sekku ( May 5)
  • Tanabata Matsuri ( July 7)
  • Kikku no sekku (September 9)

The day was traditionally referred to as the Peach Festival (桃の節句, Momo no Sekku) and kept in the early spring when peach trees began blooming. When Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar, this moved. Households typically begin establishing the altar in mid-February and take it down the day after Hinamatsuri. There’s an old superstitious notion that leaving the dolls out too long will result in the child getting wed late in life. The useful factor behind loading them up rapidly is that the humidity can harm the dolls.


How is the Hinamatsuri altar created?

The focal point of Hinamatsuri events is the doll altar. The altar is covered in a red carpet called a dankake (段掛). The dolls are jointly called hina-ningyō (雛人形). The entire set, consisting of the dolls’ clothes and devices, is called the hinakazari (雛飾り). The devices and dolls are typically organized with the emperor ( tono 殿 or Odairi-sama 御内裏様) and empress ( hime 姫 or Ohina-sama 御雛様) dolls on top and the staying dolls on lower 4 to 6 platforms according to their significance in the royal hierarchy. This is the common positioning:

  • First tier: The emperor and empress dolls are flanked by a folding screen.
  • Second tier: Three san-nin kanjo (三人官女, court girls), a sake decanter, and a round table of sugary foods.
  • Third tier: Five gonin bayashi (五人囃子, court artists) and their instruments.
  • Fourth tier: Two daijin (大臣, ministers) and numerous presents for the emperor and empress.
  • Fifth tier: Three shichō (仕丁, assistants) or eji (衛士, protectors); these dolls represent specific characters which differ according to area.
  • Sixth tier (optional): Furniture and products utilized inside the palace.
  • Seventh tier (optional): Furniture and products utilized beyond the palace.

The variety of dolls and intricacy of the setup depends upon what the household can manage. Doll sets are rather costly, varying from $1500-$ 2500 for a five-tier set! Dolls are usually given from previous generations or talented by grandparents. While the seventh and 6th tier platforms are optional, they are most typical in Tokyo families.

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Other Hinamatsuri customs

The hina-ningyō might be the stars of the vacation, however they’re not the only Hinamatsuri designs. Families typically embellish with Tsurushi-Bina (吊るし雛, actually. “hanging dolls”), garlands of other things and mini dolls made from material looped by silk cables. They’re typically homemade out of material scraps.

Cities and towns around the nation likewise hold “doll drifting events” called nagashi-bina (流し雛). These include making little dolls out of paper and straw and sending them down a river in a boat. The dolls are implied to bring the sins of individuals who made them. Some locations still have their nagashi-bina according to the lunisolar calendar rather of on March 3rd.

Traditional food served throughout Hinamatsuri

The meals typically served throughout Hinamatsuri consist of:

  • Hina-arare (雛あられ): Multi-colored rice crackers
  • Chirashizushi (ちらし寿司): Raw fish and veggies on rice in a bowl or bento box. The name actually equates to “spread sushi.”
  • Hishi mochi (菱餅): Mochi with pink, white, and green layers. The colors represent wish for the child’s future fertility.
  • Ichigo daifuku (いちご大福): Strawberries covered in adzuki bean paste.
  • Sakuramochi (桜餅): Cherry bloom seasoned mochi.
  • Ushiojiru (うしお汁): Clam soup. Clams remain in their shells to represent a signed up with set and wishes for the child’s future marital relationship.

Since the vacation is focused around kids, the standard beverage of option is shirozake (白酒), a kind of non-alcoholic sake.

Where to commemorate Hinamatsuri in Japan

You do not need to be welcomed to a personal Japanese home to take pleasure in Hinamatsuri as a visitor. Some cities have public doll screens and celebrations. Some popular Hinamatsuri locations consist of:

  • Katsuura Big Hinamatsuri Festival
  • Izu Inatori
  • Makabe
  • Yuki City
  • Seto
  • Tsumago
  • Yanagawa
  • Tokyo’s Hundred-Steps Staircase

See what a conventional Hinamatsuri screen appears like in the village of Kaisei in the video listed below! Plus, dive into more information on each of the locations noted above.

Katsuura Big Hinamatsuri Festival

The most well-known public Hinamatsuri occasion in Japan occurs in Katsuura, Chiba. The whole town is embellished for the celebration, however the focal point is the Tomisaki Shrine. The stairs leading up to the shrine screen over 1,800 dolls.

Izu Inatori (Inatori, Shizuoka)

The village of Inatori is understood for its warm springs and its Hinamatsuri celebration! You can see the dolls showed on the actions up to the Susanoo Shrine, Inatori Cultural Park, and Hina Hall Mukai-an.

Makabe and Yuki City, Ibaraki

Makabe and Yuki City are villages in the Ibaraki prefecture that established popular Hinamatsuri screens in tranquil settings. Both areas are terrific if you’re trying to find something more downplayed.

Seto, Aichi

Seto is a little city that is well-known for its pottery and ceramics. Their Hinamatsuri screens are constructed out of clay! The city’s most popular screen, including over 1,000 dolls, can be seen at the Setogura Museum.

Tsumago, Nagano

Tsumago is a post town on the old Nakasendo path and continues to be a popular resting area for hikers. The town has a special Hinamatsuri screen at Fureai Hall, which functions as a totally free resting area for travelers travelling through. Lots of homes and organizations likewise show their dolls in windows so passersby can enjoy them.

Yanagawa, Fukuoka

Yanagawa holds a popular Hinamatsuri celebration from February through April every year. In addition to the standard elements of the vacation, the Ohina-sama Water Parade is a regional emphasize. In it, kids gown in duration outfit and march along the canal while the town watches.

Tokyo’s Hundred-Steps Staircase

Tokyo’s well-known Hundred-Steps Staircase at the Meguro Gajoen Building covered in Hinamatsuri dolls is a remarkable sight for any visitor. The dolls are contributed from throughout the Kyushu area.


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Hinamatsuri is a well-liked vacation in Japan, and it’s simple to see why– it completely encapsulates Japan’s dedication to household and appeal. If a journey to Japan remains in your future, it’s worth heading out of your method to see a Hinamatsuri screen face to face!

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Written by Luca Harsh


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