Posted by: Airtower | 2014-03-03

Hina-matsuri in Ise

Today, March 3, is the day of ひな祭り (Hina-matsuri, doll festival) in Japan. Families with daughters traditionally display dolls depicting a Heian era imperial court. In traditional belief, doing so is considered a prayer for the daughter’s general safety, health, and a good marriage. During the visit at the Itsukinomiya Hall for Historical Experience on Saturday we could see doll display from various eras:

Two Hina-matsuri doll displays from the Edo era, one with three, the other with 5 rows

From the Edo era (before 1867)…

Hina-matsuri doll displays from the Taisho (left, 6 rows) and Showa (right, 5 rows, with house) eras

… through Taisho and Showa eras…

Hina-matsuri doll display from the year Heisei 4 (1992), 7 rows

… until modern times (the display above is from the year Heisei 4, or 1992).

During our visit to 二見 (Futami) today we saw two (!) more doll exhibitions. While the classical parts were very similar to the ones above, there were some different ones, too:

A long row of dolls winding up a mountain made from cloth

Dolls climbing Mt. Fuji

Frog dolls in Heian era clothes

An imperial court of frogs (Futami is famous for frogs)

Two panda dolls arranged similarly to emperor and empress in a normal Hina-matsuri display


In another place, speech bubbles have been added to a doll display, ranging from funny…

A small doll behind two bigger ones, speech bubble: "That guy in the front is too big, I can't see!"

“That guy in the front is too big, I can’t see!” (top)

Emperor and empress at the top of a Hina-matsuri display, speech bubble from the empress: "Because of this, I can never visit the Snow Festival in Sapporo!"

Empress: “Because of this, I can never visit the Snow Festival in Sapporo!”

Samurai in a Hina-matsuri display, speech bubble: "Stop nuclear power!"

“Stop nuclear power!” (bottom left)

…to political. The last one really surprised me, I didn’t think they’d use a traditional festival display for a political message.


  1. […] From the shrine, we took a walk along the shore to our next destination, which was a Hina-matsuri doll exhibit I’ve already mentioned. […]

  2. […] statue above is part of an exhibition we saw in Futami on Monday, and was labeled as Toyouke-no-omikami. Knowing that we’d visit her shrine, I saved […]

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