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What is Hinamatsuri? How to Celebrate Girl’s Day in Kyoto

What is Hinamatsuri? How to Celebrate Girl’s Day in Kyoto

“Hinamatsuri,” or the Japanese doll festival, is celebrated across Japan on the 3rd of March. This is one of five seasonal celebrations in Japan, namely “Jinjitsu” (January 7), “Hinamatsuri” or “Momo no sekku” (March 3), “Tango no Sekku” (May 5), “Tanabata” (July 7), and “Choyou no Sekku” (September 9). The Hinamatsuri tradition dates back to 12 centuries ago in the Heian Period (794-1180). Its original form was more about the purification ritual: impurities were believed to be transferred to the dolls which were then discarded in a river. The current form of the festival is said to have been formed in the Edo period (1615–1868) when dolls evolved into luxurious figurines displayed for the daughters of elite families. Contemporary Hinamatsuri is considered to be the celebration day of young girls and a number of households with young daughters display traditional Japanese dolls and eat seasonal dishes such as Chirashi-zushi or Hina-arare on March 3rd. As you will see less tourists in early March, this would be a great opportunity to enjoy this unique experience!

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Senryo-ga-tsuji Hina Matsuri Festival & Exhibition

At the Senryo-ga-tsuji Hina Matsuri Festival & Exhibition Hinamatsuri dolls will be exhibited in a machiya-style old silk merchant warehouse. This place is located in Nishijin area where you can also enjoy shopping for Japanese traditional garment and accessories.

Free entrance
Period: March 2 – March 3 (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

From the official Kyoto National Museum website

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum will hold their annual special exhibition of Hinamatsuri dolls. The entrance fee is half the price for students and it’s a great opportunity to learn the cultural and historical trajectories of this beautiful celebration!

Entrance fee: 700 yen (half price for university students)
Period: February 10 – March 24

Shimogamo Shrine

Shimogamo Shrine is a UNESCO world heritage site that tourists visit in all seasons, yet on March 3rd there is a special ritual of “Nagashi-Hina” in which you can see how the ritual was done in the Heian period. It is a great opportunity for people who love taking photos!

Free entrance
Period: March 3 (11 a.m.~)


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