Have you ever heard of the Japanese Doll Festival? It is a festival aimed at girls that is held on the March 3rd every year. Most Japanese people don’t even know the actual meaning behind the festival, so here is the story:
The Doll Festival, also called Hinamatsuri, has the nickname in Japanese, “momo-no-sekku,” which translated literally, means “festival of the peach season.” It takes place in early spring, when the peach flowers begin blooming. Japanese people believe the peach flower holds a mystical power to ensure health and growth.
The Hinamatsuri is one of five important festivals, including the Jinjitsu Celebration, Tango no Sekku, Tanabata Festival, and Kiku no Sekku. Originally, these were important ceremonies, which were traditionally held at the Japanese Imperial Court ever since the Nara period. However, later on, the tradition of the Hinamatsuri Festival changed a lot. In the beginning, it was a tradition to make a human body figure out of paper and let it flow down a sea or river to purify and erase evil spirits inside the human body. This tradition changed over time from a human paper figure into a beautiful doll, and rather than sending it down a river, it is displayed and prayed to. Therefore, many people started believing that it is just a festival for girls to pray for their success and growth, however, it is really a festival for purification of the human body and can be performed by both girls and boys.
Visit a Hinamatsuri Festival
Many Japanese families display a collection of dolls in their home. Just for this special day, they build a place to display the dolls once a year. Following tradition, they must clean up/put away the dolls as soon as the festival is over, otherwise their daughter will have troubles finding a groom in the future. While it is unlikely you will have the chance to visit a Japanese home to see their collection, I recommend you visit the Kasuisai Temple in the Fukui Prefecture, which holds a large collection of dolls during the festival which is open to the public. The temple received the dolls from Japanese families and collected them for the Hinamatsuri festival. It is worth visiting and a fun adventure for the whole family.
Dates:March 1, 2017 ～ March 31, 2017
Time:8 am ～ 5 pm
Visiting Fees:500 yen for adults 〈free for children under 12 years old〉
Access:The city Fukui is in the Shizuoka prefecture. Shizuoka is famous for the volcanic mountain, Fuji. It is just a 1.5 hour ride away from Tokyo by shinkansen.