ひなまつり – Doll Festival

As the title suggests, around Japan this is the time for the Doll Festival. During this time, you see many specific dolls on sale for a range of prices. These dolls depict the royal court of traditional Japan, complete with musicians, trees, and sometimes even kitchens. It all focuses around the top tier of the display, the Emperor and Empress (complete with the Empress’s multiple kimonos!). Also, these dolls are typically insanely expensive. It’s quite easy for a set of them to be the equivalent of $800.

My student Miyuki, whom joined me at the tea ceremony, invited me to a huge event in Katsuura city hall. What I didn’t know at the time of accepting this invitation is that Katsuura is a 2 hour drive from Tateyama, and she was also offering to drive. Clearly I have a very kind student who also, fortunately, likes driving.

We went last Sunday, leaving early to make sure we got there in time. The 2 hour drive went pretty quickly and I got to practice my Japanese a bit in the process. When we got to city hall, there was quite a crowd there to see the dolls! So, let’s get on with it and check out some pictures.

Here's the set up you see when you first enter the hall. While impressive, it's nothing compared to what came later...
Here’s the set up you see when you first enter the hall. While impressive, it’s nothing compared to what came later…
Here's the entry display with me as a height comparison!
Here’s the entry display with me as a height comparison!
Once you get past the display in the entry, there is a huge doll set up you can take a picture with!
Once you get past the display in the entry, there is a huge doll set up you can take a picture with!
The second display includes more exterior details, such as castles for the backdrop.
The second display includes more exterior details, such as castles for the backdrop.
As you can see, there were still quite a few of these castle set ups. Each one was different and impressive in it's own right.
As you can see, there were still quite a few of these castle set ups. Each one was different and impressive in it’s own right.
Opposite of the castle set ups, we find many individual dolls. They were displayed in such an adorable way; with segments cut out of bamboo poles for the dolls to rest.
Opposite of the castle set ups, we find many individual dolls. They were displayed in such an adorable way; with segments cut out of bamboo poles for the dolls to rest.
Here you can see the dolls resting in the bamboo caverns.
Here you can see the dolls resting in the bamboo caverns.
It gave the whole area an almost mystical feeling, like the dolls were meant to be fairies or other etherial beings.
It gave the whole area an almost mystical feeling, like the dolls were meant to be fairies or other etherial beings.
Past the etherial bamboo display, we find a different sort of bamboo presentation.
Past the etherial bamboo display, we find a different sort of bamboo presentation.
These bamboo chairs for the dolls looked so comfortable to me... Maybe that's just me? Ah, who knows?
These bamboo chairs for the dolls looked so comfortable to me… Maybe that’s just me? Ah, who knows?
A local school got in on the action and had their students make their own dolls!
A local school got in on the action and had their students make their own dolls!
I took a picture of my favorite project; ひなうちゅじん! You can read this as space people dolls or Alien dolls. I obviously choose alien dolls.
I took a picture of my favorite project; ひなうちゅじん! You can read this as space people dolls or Alien dolls. I obviously choose alien dolls.
This room was the most impressive. A theatre with every seat put down and covered with dolls!
Next we turn into a room that was jaw-dropping! This room was by far the most impressive; A theatre with every seat put down and covered with dolls!
There were so many it was almost a waste since we couldn't see the dolls at the top! But the spectacle remained stunning still.
There were so many it was almost a waste since we couldn’t see the dolls at the top! But the spectacle remained stunning still.
In the theatre, you couldn't go up the stairs because they were blocked off and used as a display area for the tiny, hung up kimonos. The details that goes into these is breathtaking.
In the theatre, you couldn’t go up the stairs because they were blocked off and used as a display area for the tiny, hung up kimonos. The details that goes into these is breathtaking.
Once you turn around in this room, you find tiered displays of dolls.
Once you turn around in this room, you find tiered displays of dolls.
As well as some notable courtyards.
As well as some notable courtyards.
Again, each one is different.
Again, each one is different.
And some are incredibly detailed!
And some are incredibly detailed!
There are many different art styles for the faces, which makes this whole event interesting on another level. Here is a close up of one of the dolls for the theatre room.
There are many different art styles for the faces, which makes this whole event interesting on another level. Here is a close up of one of the dolls for the theatre room.
As you can see, the faces and styles differ quite a bit.
As you can see, the faces and styles differ quite a bit.
Some sets even give each face identical details.

Some sets even give each face identical details.

 

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One Response to ひなまつり – Doll Festival

  1. deb92024 says:

    The auditorium room is jawdropping but (of course) I want the kitchen set! xox

    Like

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