Spring

Celebrate One of the Biggest Girls’ Day Festival at Katsuura Big Hina Matsuri

Maggie

Writer

Katsuura Big Hina Matsuri is held from the end of February till March 3rd every year. The festival started in 2001. About 30,000 Hina dolls are displayed at several locations within the city during the festival. About 7,000 dolls come from another big Hina festival in Katsuura, Tokushima and the rest come from all over Japan for this occasion. At Tomisaki Jinja location, around 1,800 dolls are organized and displayed on 60 stone steps.

People decorate it every morning and after the light up display (from 5 pm – 7 pm) all the dolls are removed from the steps. Also, on the first day of the festival, locals pray for the success of the festival at Tomisaki Jinja. At Kuste (Katsuura art & culture center), there are 8,000 dolls displayed in the main hall along with 15 unique dolls which are the biggest in Japan. Visitors and locals wear costumes and attend different events and various pop-up stores during the festival especially on the weekends.

What is Hina Matsuri?

Hina Matsuri is also known as Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day and is celebrated on March 3rd every year in Japan. This tradition started in the 8th century, and it is a day to pray for happiness and good health of girls in the household. Respectively, May 5th is the children’s day, and it is also a day to pray for happiness and healthy growth of boys. For Hina Matsuri, each household display dolls (Hina ningyo) on the display steps (Hina dan) along with rice crackers and other food. The collection of dolls comes out of the closet around mid-February and put away as soon as Hina Matsuri is over just like Christmas trees in Christmas time. There is an old superstition that families that are slow in putting back their dolls may have troubles in finding husbands for their daughters.

Hina Ningyo & Hina Dan

The dolls – Hina Ningyo wear costumes of the imperial court of the Heian period (794-1185). Hina dan typically has five or seven steps and covered in red felt. Single-tiered decorations with only one male or only one female doll are also common especially in the bigger cities where the houses are not large enough to display the entire collection.

On the top tier, the emperor and the empress are presented along with the throne and folding screen behind them – just like the real imperial setting. On the second row are three ladies-in-waiting, and on the third, there are five male court musicians. Ministers sit on sides of food trays on the fourth step, and the fifth row features guards flanked by an orange tree to the left and a cherry tree to the right. Also, you can see flowers of peach and field mustard (canola). People believe that the peaches blossoms repel evil.

Hina Matsuri Song

There is a particular traditional song that people sing for the occasion. You will be able to hear the song all over the town, even in supermarkets when the season comes around. It is pretty short so learn within a day and impress the locals!

Akari o tsukema sho bon bori ni
O hana o agemasyo momo no hana
Gonin – bayashi no fue daiko
Kyoo wa tanoshii Hina Matsuri

English transition:

Let’s light the lanterns on the tiered stand
Let’s put peach blossoms on the tiered stand
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums
Today is a Happy Dolls’ Festival.

Hina Matsuri Special Food

Just like any other special holiday in Japan, Hina Matsuri has unique dishes.

Hamaguri (Asian Hard Clam) soup is a typical dish for the occasion. Because each side of the shell of the clam must match, it represents good marriage/relationship for two people and a lucky piece with a wish to bring you together with your significant other for the rest of your life.

Chirashi sushi is another dish that represents Hina Matsuri. It’s colorful rice with different vegetables, eggs, and seafood.

Hina Arare is rice crackers that stands with the Hina doll collections but also its shared with family and friends for this occasion. Small rice crackers have a sugar coat, and it is one of the traditional Japanese sweets. It comes in four different colors: pink, green yellow, and white. They represent four seasons, and people eat it with a wish for a great year for the girls.

Details and Access

Dates: End of February till March 3rd every year. The dates may change depending on the year.

Place: Several locations in Katsuura city in Chiba Prefecture and Tomisaki Shrine as the main venue.

Homepage (Japanese Only): http://www.katsuura-sanpo.com/facilities/event/post-449/

Address: 〒299-5233 Hamakatsuura, Katsuura-shi, Chiba

Access: To access the area by train, get off at JR Sobo Line Katsuura station, and it is a 10-minute walk. To obtain by car, it takes about 70 minutes from Tateyama Expressway, Ichihara interchange via Route 297, southward from the Ichihara Tsurumai Interchange. And about 40 minutes on Route 297. There is no parking around the venues so go ahead and park at Moriya Kaigan parking lot for free and take a free shuttle to go around the sites.

Closing Remarks

If you want to experience Hina Matsuri fully, you don’t want to miss this opportunity in Katsuura! It is awe-inspiring and overwhelming at the same time to see thousands of Hina dolls in front of you. You cannot experience something like this in your everyday life! Whether you have a girl in your family or not, this is one of the most significant traditions in Japan. So, I recommend you to check out this festival!

If you would like to discover this amazing festival and Chiba prefecture with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!

Discover Chiba Prefecture!

Chiba Prefecture is a great place to visit and can boast plenty of tourist attractions. Besides, it is very close to Tokyo, and you can easily visit it within a day. However, would you like to see rural Japan? Chiba Prefecture gives you a unique opportunity to visit a land of hot springs and admire authentic traditional Japan. The following article assembled the best festivals and activities to enjoy in Chiba Prefecture, which will make your trip to Japan even more rewarding!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/best-festivals-things-chiba-prefecture

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

Find the Best Festival in Tokyo to Enjoy Your Stay in Japan

Many travelers when they come to Japan do not skip Tokyo. Indeed, this megapolis combined unique traditional culture and modern trends. If you would like to see at the capital from a different perspective, please take a look at the following article that is going to introduce you to 12 outstanding festivals in Tokyo and around. There is one festival for each month of the year, for you to have an opportunity to enjoy at least one of then no matter when you are traveling.

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5852/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or just want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should definitely try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Maggie

Hi! I am Maggie. I love traveling and telling people about cool things happening in Japan. Hope the article helps with your trip to Japan!

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