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"Hinamatsuri" - praying for the health of girls with beautiful hina dolls



2022.03.03 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

Today, March 3rd, is "Hinamatsuri" in Japan. Hinamatsuri is a traditional Japanese event to pray that young girls will grow up healthy. Many families in Japan celebrate Hinamatsuri by displaying a set of Japanese "hina dolls" between early February and early March, including the day of Hinamatsuri itself. In addition, they may eat such foods as "hina-arare" cubic rice crackers, with its beautiful colors representing the arrival of spring – the white of lingering snow, the pink of peach blossoms, and the yellowish green of new shoots – and "chirashizushi" made with many ingredients considered to be auspicious.

This festival has its origin in a practice to drive out evil spirits in which one's bad luck was transferred to a "Hitogata", a doll made of paper and straw, which was then thrown into a river and washed away. Over time, as it became popular among girls to use dolls to play house and the technology for making beautiful dolls improved, this festival evolved into its current form as an event where dolls are displayed to pray for the health of girls.

Yoshitoku is a doll manufacturer in Tokyo's Taito City, where they have been making hina dolls for display at Hinamatsuri for more than three centuries. Not only are Yoshitoku's dolls traditional and beautiful, but they have also played a role in the international community, including being sent to the United States through the Japan-US Friendship Doll Exchange, which saw dolls exchanged between Japan and the United States. Why not visit the Yoshitoku store and see for yourself these dolls that continue to evolve with the times while preserving the old traditions? Yoshitoku's main store is in Asakusabashi, Taito City, just a 1-minute walk from Asakusabashi Station.

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