Seasonal Events in Japan

What is Japanese Traditional Girls Festival “Hinamatsuri”

Japanese Traditional Girls Festival “Hinamatsuri”

Hinamatsuri, also called Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, is a special day in Japan.  Celebrated each year on March 3 to pray for the health and happiness of young girls in Japan. Hinamatsuri, the name of the celebration in Japan, is marked by families displaying a set of Hina dolls in the house.  We celebrate with special traditional food.


Hina Dolls

Traditionally, parents or grandparents of a newborn girl buy a set of Hina dolls for the baby, unless they have special dolls that are inherited from generation to generation.  My mother bought these sets of Hina dolls when my first daughter was born.

Usually, from the end of February to March 3, Hina dolls dressed in Japanese ancient costumes are displayed on tiered platforms that are covered with a red carpet. The costumed dolls represent the imperial court of the Heian period (A.D. 794 to 1185) and feature the emperor, empress, attendants, and musicians dressed in traditional garb.

This is my daughters and their Hina dolls


The dolls are displayed hierarchically with the emperor and empress at the top, which are set in front of a gilded screen representing the thrown. The number of dolls and their size vary from home to home, but five to seven platforms are common.

It is customary to put the dolls away as soon as the festival is over—there is a superstition that if the dolls are left out, a family will have trouble marrying off their daughters. After the festival, some people release paper dolls into the rivers praying that this will send away sickness and bad fortune.

My mother bought this Hina doll in addition when my second daughter was born.

Hinamatsuri Traditional Food

On Hinamatsuri day, we traditionally eat Chirashizushi, a big bowl of sushi rice with many kinds of seafood and vegetable toppings.  Some family eats hand-rolled sushi or Inarizushi, sushi wrapped in fried tofu.

Decorate piles of green, white, pink (red), three rice cakes cut into diamond shape. There are several theories in the meaning of color, the theory which means “health and longevity” in green, “purity” in white, pink means “amulet”, the green means “earth”, the white means “snow” There is a theory that pink is “peach” and that “the snow strikes and the grass grows in the earth, peach blossoms bloom” is put in the theory. The green rice cake mixes worm worms said to have blood thickening effect, the fruit which is said to lower blood pressure enters into white rice cake, the pink rice cake is coloring with gardenia which is said to have detoxification effect. Rhombuses are said to represent “heart”, and they express the feelings of eliminating disasters and the desire for parents’, health for their daughters.

A sweet drink made from fermented rice.  Most of Amazake is nonalcoholic.

Hishimochi and Amazake


The sweetened rice-flour cakes for offering at the Dolls’ Festival.  Most kids look forward to eating this snack on Hinamatsuri. You can find many kinds of Hina-arare with popular Anime on the package at the shop.

Anpanman Hina-arare


Hinamatsuri Cake
You can find many cake shops sell pretty Hinamatsuri cakes as many families eat a cake to celebrate this special day.


Decoration for Hinamatsuri celebration
Flower arrangements for Hinamatsuri. We decorate our house with peach flowers and other fresh spring flowers like tulips and canola.


Hina Doll small size


Hinamatsuri Song

Please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below if you have any questions!

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