Hinamatsuri, also known as “doll festival” or “girl festival”, is a traditional festival that takes place on March 3 every year in Japan.
On this day, families with baby girls will display Hina dolls to wish the baby to grow up healthy and happy.
So how can you look at Hina dolls when you don’t know such families?
Don’t worry! Because every Hinamatsuri festival, everywhere in Japan will organize extremely grand and unique celebratory events.
This article will suggest 7 places to see the most famous Hina dolls in Japan.
If you are in Japan, definitely don’t miss it.
- Shizuoka Prefecture / Hina no Tsurushikazari festival (雛のつるし飾りまつり)
- Fukuoka Prefecture / Yanagawa Hinamatsuri Sagemon Meguri Festival (柳川雛祭りさげもんめぐり)
- Saitama Prefecture / Kōnosu Bikkuri Hinamatsuri Festival (鴻巣びっくりひな祭り)
- Nagano Prefecture / Sanjūdankazari Sentai no Hinamatsuri Festival (三十段飾り 千体の雛祭り)
- Tokushima Prefecture / Biggu Hinamatsuri Festival (ビッグひな祭り)
- Aichi Prefecture / Tō no machi Seto no Ohina meguri Festival (陶のまち瀬戸のお雛めぐり)
- Hyōgo Prefecture / Kawara to Hinamatsuri Festival (瓦とひなまつり)
Shizuoka Prefecture /
Hina no Tsurushikazari festival
From the end of January to the end of March every year, in the hot spring area of Inatori Onsen (Shizuoka Prefecture) , the Hina no Tsurushikazari festival takes place.
Tsurushikazari is a traditional Japanese ornament, made by using a long thread to connect fabric models (such as dolls, flowers, peaches, etc.) together.
The Inatori region is known as the cradle of Tsurushikazari decorative rope making.
At the festival, you will admire countless Tsurushikazari strings of all different shapes and colors, decorated along both sides of the doll shelf, creating an extremely magnificent scene.
This year, the exhibition will take place in four halls and the nearby Susanoo Shrine (素盞嗚神社).
Don’t miss the main hall of Inatori Bunka Kōen Hinanoyakata (稲取文化公園 雛の館) if you want to see the giant Tsurushikazari rope connected from 6,409 fabric models.
You can also stop by the Naburatoto (なぶらとと) side hall to admire a set of Hina dolls made more than 100 years ago.
Most prominent is the shelf of more than 500 dolls displayed on 118 stone stairs leading to the temple of Susanoo Shrine.
This is also the tallest multi-tiered Hina doll display in Japan as of the current moment.
Standing below and capturing the entire doll staircase stretching behind is the most favored angle for photos here.
If you visit Susanoo Shrine, don’t forget to take a souvenir photo!
Location: Inatori Onsen area, Shizuoka prefecture
Access: 15 minutes walk from Izu Inatori station
January 20, 2024 ~ March 31, 2024 (4 halls)
February 17, 2024 ~ March 10, 2024 (Susanoo Shrine)
Entrance fee: Free ~ 500 yen depending on the hall
Fukuoka Prefecture /
Yanagawa Hinamatsuri Sagemon Meguri Festival
In the Yanagawa region, it has long been the custom to celebrate the birth of a baby girl by decorating colorful Sagemon strings along with Hina dolls to pray for the child’s healthy growth.
Sagemon is a unique ornament of the Yanagawa region, made by using a long thread to connect cloth models (such as dolls, cranes, rabbits, etc.) together.
Basically, Sagemon is quite similar to Tsurushikazari but Sagemon will have 2 more Temari orbs.
Yanagawa Hinamatsuri Sagemon Meguri Festival is a famous spring event of Yanagawa City and is increasingly popular with tourists.
During the festival season, everywhere in the city, from restaurants to tourist attractions, are filled with Sagemon strings, creating an extremely cheerful and warm scene.
In addition to the exhibitions, the most prominent event in the festival is the “Hina Doll River Parade” (おひな様水上パレード).
Men and women dressed as male and female Hina dolls, children in festive Kimonos sat on boats slowly floating down the river.
Hundreds of decorated Sagemon strings form curtains over the river for boats to pass by.
A truly majestic and beautiful sight that you can only admire in the river city of Yanagawa.
Location: Yanagawa City, Kyūshū Island
Access: About 1 hour by train from Hakata station
Time: February 11, 2024 ~ April 3, 2024
Entrance fee: Free or charged depending on the hall
Saitama Prefecture /
Kōnosu Bikkuri Hinamatsuri Festival
Kōnosu City in Saitama Prefecture is known as the “city of dolls” with a history of more than 380 years of traditional doll making.
From mid-February to early March every year, the Kōnosu Bikkuri Hinamatsuri Festival takes place here as a way to honor the profession of doll making as well as promote the appeal of Kōnosu city to tourists.
A characteristic of the Kōnosu Bikkuri Hinamatsuri festival is that dolls will be displayed on pyramids.
You will definitely be overwhelmed when witnessing the 7 meter high 31-storey doll pyramid right in the main hall of Elumi Kōnosu Shopping Mall (エルミこうのすショッピングモール).
According to 2023 records, a total of 1,526 dolls were on display.
This is also the largest doll pyramid in Japan today.
In addition, you can also visit the nearby satellite halls to admire the hexagonal or octagonal doll pyramid works.
If you are near Saitama Prefecture, definitely don’t miss the Kōnosu Bikkuri Hinamatsuri Festival.
Location: Elumi Kōnosu Shopping Mall, Saitama Prefecture
Access: Right at the East exit of Kōnosu Station
Time: February 17, 2024 ~ March 4, 2024
Entrance fee: Free
Nagano Prefecture /
Sanjūdankazari Sentai no Hinamatsuri Festival (三十段飾り 千体の雛祭り)
The Sanjūdankazari Sentai no Hinamatsuri festival takes place in Suzaka city, Nagano prefecture.
The most impressive image of the festival is the giant 30-storey doll shelf, 6 meters high with thousands of decorated doll models.
Interspersed among the dolls are beautiful heart shapes made up of cherry blossom trees and lamps.
Not only modern dolls, dolls from the Edo period, Meiji period, etc. are also on display.
By observing, you can notice how the colors, patterns on the Kimono or the doll’s facial expressions have changed over time.
In particular, you can also “transform into a Hina doll” by renting a Kimono outfit right at the hall.
This outfit is designed like a jacket so it’s very easy to wear, and the rental price is also very cheap* so if you want to experience the feeling of “being a Hina doll”, you can rent it and try it on.
*Kimono rental price at the time of writing: 500 yen for children, 700 yen for adults.
Location: Suzaka Art Park, Nagano Prefecture
Access: 15 minutes by train + 8 minutes by taxi from JR Nagano station
Time: February 3, 2024 ~ April 14, 2024
Entrance fee: 600 yen
Tokushima Prefecture /
Biggu Hinamatsuri Festival
Every early spring, the town of Katsuura (Tokushima province) becomes more bustling when welcoming thousands of tourists to attend the Biggu Hinamatsuri festival.
At the festival, about 30,000 dolls collected from all over Japan will be displayed.
These are all dolls that were once decorated in households. Because the girls have grown up or there is not enough space in the house, the dolls are no longer decorated.
Instead of storing dolls in dark cabinets, people send dolls to festivals so that visitors can see them, which is also a way for the dolls to shine again.
Each doll is a part of a family’s memories.
Looking at them suddenly makes you feel very close and loved.
Next to the doll display hall are stalls selling local specialties.
Don’t forget to buy some Tokushima tangerines as gifts if you have the opportunity to visit the festival.
Location: Hina Doll Museum, Tokushima Prefecture
Access: 1 hour by bus from JR Tokushima station
Time: February 24, 2024 ~ April 7, 2024
Entrance fee: Adults 400 yen, children 100 yen
Aichi Prefecture /
Tō no machi Seto no Ohina meguri Festival
From late January to early March every year, in Seto city (Aichi province) the Tō no machi Seto no Ohina meguri festival takes place.
Seto City is a famous ceramic production city with more than 1,000 years of pottery history.
Instead of Hina dolls wearing cloth Kimonos like we usually see, the Tō no machi Seto no Ohina meguri festival uses dolls made of ceramic and glass.
Nearly 1,000 dolls of all sizes and shapes are displayed on a 4-meter high pyramid, creating a ceramic doll shelf unique in Japan.
During the festival, restaurants here also sell special menus inspired by Hina dolls.
If you want to rest while sightseeing, you can stop by a sweet shop to enjoy Hina doll-shaped Wagashi cakes with a cup of green tea, for example.
On weekends, pottery making experience classes (for a fee) are also held for those who want to make their own Hina dolls.
The festival location is only about 40 minutes by train from Nagoya Station, so if you’re near Nagoya and looking for a place to day trip, you might consider stopping by the Tō no machi Seto no Ohina meguri festival. .
Location: Setogura Museum, Aichi Prefecture
Access: About 40 minutes by train from Nagoya station
Time: January 27, 2024 ~ March 3, 2024
Entrance fee: Free
Hyōgo Prefecture /
Kawara to Hinamatsuri Festival
Tsui – a small town located in Awaji city (Hyōgo Prefecture), is known as the famous Ibushi tile maker with more than 400 years of history.
The Kawara to Hinamatsuri festival held here is a “strange” event that combines “tiles and Hina dolls”.
In Tsui, tiles are everywhere!
First, you will be impressed by the road leading into the hall which is completely lined with tiles instead of the usual bricks.
Next are Hina dolls sitting on shelves made from tiles, or people even place dolls above the kiln mixed with tile making tools.
A “strange” but no less interesting scene.
You will feel like the Hina dolls are playing in a tile factory, they look more lively and mischievous.
Not only can you see, at the Kawara to Hinamatsuri festival you can also directly touch some models such as carriages, chests of drawers, tea ceremony utensils , etc.
This is also one of the plus points that attracts more and more tourists to the festival.
Location: Minamiawaji City Industrial Culture Center, Hyōgo Prefecture
Access: Approximately 15 minutes by car from the Seidan Mihara intersection of the Kobe Awaji Naruto Expressway
Time: February 4, 2024 ~ March 30, 2024
Entrance fee: Free
Hinamatsuri is one of the largest spring festivals in Japan.
The most attractive point of the festival is seeing the gorgeous Hina dolls in beautiful Kimonos.
Right now, many places in Japan have begun organizing events to celebrate the Hinamatsuri festival by displaying countless Hina dolls for visitors to admire.
If you are also in Japan, please refer to the places introduced in this article and come see Hina dolls in person to start a brilliant spring.