Hinamatsuri wishing for the growth of girls

Japanese traditional culture

Hello! I’m Yuko. It is getting warmer and warmer, like spring!

It’s March 3rd today. Do you know what day it is?
In Japan, March 3rd is the day called “Hinamatsuri” (Momo no sekku/ Doll’s Festival).

Today, I would like to talk about the ancient Japanese event “Hinamatsuri” .

What is Hinamatsuri?

Hinamatsuri is an event to celebrate the healthy growth and health of girls.
(Mothers with boys may be wondering, “Isn’t there a boy’s day similar to the Doll’s Festival?” There is a day when we wish for the growth and health of boys! It’s 5th of May, Children’s day!)

The Doll’s Festival is also called “Peach Festival” because it is the season when peach blossoms bloom.

By the way, the peach tree is considered to be an eternal and long-lived senboku(God’s wood) that prevents illness or disasters in China, so it is the perfect intention of the Hinamatsuri.

What Japanese people do at the Doll’s Festival

So what exactly do Japanese people do at the Hinamatsuri event?
Let’s look at each one!

Decorate the Hina dolls

At the Hinamatsuri, we display “Hina dolls”.

This Hina doll has the meaning of transferring the girl’s filth and taking over the disaster.
Therefore, parents decorate the Hina dolls with congratulations and wishes so that the girls will be healthy and happy.

In the old days, it was said that they used to make Hina dolls out of paper and let them flow into the river so that the dolls could take bad things such as illness or injury to far away. It’s called “Nagashi Hina(Flown Hina)”.

Hina dolls are becoming more and more gorgeous, so we often just decorate them and not let them flow into the river now, but it seems that there are still some areas where people celebrate with “Nagashi Hina” as they used to.

Hina dolls used to have seven-tiered decorations as shown in the photo, but recently there are also compact three-tiered decorations and five-tiered decorations.

From the top, there are ”Odairi-sama” and “Ohina-sama” (male and female hina(dolls), the second row is “Three officials” (the caretaker of the female hina), and the third row is the “five musicians” (the performer).

The Hina dolls are displayed from the end of Setsubun (early February) to March 3rd.
Because it is a doll that has replaced the disaster and it is not good to leave it forever after the Hinamatsuri is over It is believed that the Hina dolls should be put away soon.

It is also said that if you keep the Hina dolls on display, you will not be able to get married. Japanese people will quickly get rid of them after March 3rd.

Hinamatsuri food

Next, I will talk about what to eat at the Hinamatsuri event.
At the Hinamatsuri, there are some things that you can only eat at this time.
All of them are sold at supermarkets, so please look for them when you go to the supermarket.

Clam soup

Clams represent a couple because they do not fit perfectly unless they are paired shells.
The clam contains a wish to get along with each and every person for the rest of their lives.
It is a unique dish to an event for girls.

Hina-arare(Rice cracker)

Hina-arare is a typical sweet of the Hinamatsuri. We only eat it during the Doll’s Festival.

It is a sweet made by sprinkling sugar on dried cooked rice or roasted beans.
Very delicious! Around the Hinamatsuri, we often see small children eating deliciously.

There are four colors and each represents the four seasons.
Green for the color of the tree buds in spring, pink for vitality in summer, yellow for autumn leaves in autumn, and white for snow in winter.

Chirashi sushi

Chirashizushi is a typical menu for Hinamatsuri, whose gorgeous colors are perfect for a festive atmosphere.

The ingredients contained in chirashizushi are lucky charms and are meaningful.
For example, shrimp can live longer, lotus root has a clear view (because it has holes), and beans are healthy and can work diligently.

Hishi mochi(Rice cake with diamond shape)

Hishi mochi is also a typical Japanese sweet of the Hinamatsuri, and is only eaten during the Hinamatsuri.

When a girl eats Hishi mochi at the Doll’s Festival, it becomes a prayer for disease-free breathing and prosperity of descendants.

Hishi mochi is made by coloring mochi with food coloring or mugwort, and its chewy texture is popular.

It is three colors: pink, white, and green.
The pink is associated with “peach blossoms”, the white is associated with “pure white snow”, and the green is associated with “fresh green” to express the “spring scene”.

The Hishi mochi, which are arranged in the order of “green, white, red” from the bottom, represent a scene where sprouts (green) are sprouting under snow (white) and peach (pink) flowers are in bloom.

A place where you can see Hina dolls

Here, I will introduce some places where you can actually see the Hina dolls.

Yodoko Guest House

I went to the Hina doll exhibition last year (2020).
The Hina dolls displayed in 2 rooms are very gorgeous! It’s so well preserved that it’s hard to believe it was made 120 years ago, and I think it’s worth seeing once.

Due to the COVID-19 this year, advance reservations are required for you to visit.

  • Period: Now being held-Sunday, April 4
  • Address: 3-10 Yamate-cho, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo
  • Access: 10 minutes walk north from “Ashiyagawa Station” on the Hankyu Kobe Line
  • Admission fee: 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for elementary, middle and high school students
  • Business hours: Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 10: 00-16: 00 (admission is until 15:30)
  • Phone number: 0797-38-1720
  • Official site: https://www.yodoko-geihinkan.jp/

 KOBE Maritime Museum

Hina dolls by Yukako Goto, a festival doll craftsman who continues to make Hina dolls, are displayed.
The Hina dolls made by Mrs. Goto became a hot topic as they were introduced in the news very beautifully. I recommend going there. It’s quite near.

Hina dolls are on display in the Maritime Museum, so if your family member isn’t interested in Hina dolls but in boats, you still can go!

  • Period: Now being held-Sunday, March 14
  • Address: 2-2 Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
  • Access: 15 minutes walk from “Motomachi Station” on the JR Hanshin Line
  • Admission fee: 900 yen for adults, 400 yen for elementary, middle and high school students
  • Business hours: 10: 00-18: 00 (Last admission is until 17:30)
  • Closed: Monday (If Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be closed the day after opening)
  • Phone number: 078-327-8983
  • Official site: http://www.kobe-maritime-museum.com/

Enjoy Hinamatsuri!

“Hinamatsuri” is an event that wishes for the health and growth of girls.

Recently, Hina dolls are rarely displayed in ordinary Japanese households because of the housing situation(no place to display) in Japan and the difficulty of cleaning up and managing them.

Still, the desire for the health and growth of girls is the same for both old and current parents.
I recommend you to eat hina-arare and hishi mochi for today’s snacks.
(Of course boys can eat those snacks too!!)


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