Until the birth of Baby Girl, six years ago, I had never celebrated Hinamatsuri Japan Girls’ Day. Now I know what I was missing as a boys-only family. Learn about Hinamatsuri by reading, going and making! Cheers to Girls on March 3rd and every day!
Learn about Hinamatsuri, Japan Girls’ Day
Hinamatsuri (雛祭り), also called Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, is celebrated on March 3rd and is a special day in Japan, but not a national holiday. Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形 hina-ningyō) representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians. The dolls are clothed in traditional court dress of the Heian period (794 to 1185). The custom began in the Heian period as a way to remove bad spirits from the house.
Most families celebrate Hinamatsuri by displaying dolls and eating and drinking. Special delicacies include shirozake (a sake made from fermented rice), pastel-colored hina-arare (bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce) and hishimochi (a diamond-shaped colored rice cake). The main meal on Hinamatsuri is Chirashizushi (sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with raw fish and a variety of ingredients). The sushi is accompanied by a salt-based soup called ushiojiru containing clams still in the shells. Clamshells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly.
Japan Girls’ Day Sweets and Food
****Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day
Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi (雛流し, lit. “doll floating”), in which straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them. They often got caught in fisherman’s nets, so the custom began to burn them on the evenings of March 3rd to terminate the bad spirits. – Content source Wikipedia
Most families purchase a set of dolls the first year their daughter’s life. The dolls are often purchased by the grandparents since sets can cost hundred of thousands of yen. Sets of dolls can be from just two dolls (Emperor and Empress) to seven tiers of dolls. Since storage space is limited in Japanese homes, many families are now investing in smaller more compact sets today. You can also buy a wide selection at Amazon Japan or unique hand-crafts at Iichi.com. The dolls are exhibited in homes across Japan following Setsubun (February 2nd) until the evening of March 3rd. Although families no longer burn the dolls; superstition is that if you do not pack up by March 4th your daughter may marry late.
Great books to enjoy with your children in Japanese available on Amazon Japan.
Out and About Hinamasturi – Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day
If you are interested in learning more about Hinamatsuri, I highly recommend the following events, activities, and shopping.
1. Meguro Gajoen Hina Doll Exhibit (CLOSED DUE TO COVID-19)
Dates and Times: CLOSED DUE TO COVID -19 (Sunday, March 15, 2020; 10:00 – 17:00 (no admission after 16:30)
Cost: Adults 1,600 JPY (advance 1,400 JPY), high school – college students 1000 JPY, Junior high and elementary school students 600 JPY, children elementary and under free
Access: 10 minutes from Meguro Station; Yamanote, Tokyu Meguro, Namboku, Mita lines
2. Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store – Most department stores (including al branches of Takashimaya) and mass merchants sell Hinanigyo, but I believe the Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store has the largest selection of artists, styles and prices. Even if you are not going to buy a set, it is a great fun to go and view for free.
Phone: 03- 3211-411
Dates and Open hours: Until March 3rd; 10:00 – 20:00
Access: 5 min walk from the Yaesu north exit of Tokyo Station, 4 min walk from Nihonbashi on the Toei Asakusa Station
Cools creations to inspire your creativity! – Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Day
Hinamatsuri, Japan Girls’ Day
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