Chuma Asuke Festival - The Dolls' Festival - Hina Matsuri

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The Doll Festival, Hina Matsuri ( (I.e.) or “Girls' Day”Is a typical Japanese party, which takes place on March 3rd. Platforms with red cloths on steps are arranged to expose the dolls. The custom of showing off dolls began during the Edo period. According to Japanese belief, people used to believe that dolls had the power to ward off evil spirits, illness, misfortune, bad luck and thus protect the owner. So for the Japanese, Hina is much more than just decorative items.

A huge collection of Hina Dolls displayed throughout Asuke neighborhood em Toyota, thanks to the collective effort of its residents. Take a stroll through the streets, preserved to keep the look of centuries ago, and experience firsthand a traditional celebration that is very imprinted in the childhood memories of virtually every Japanese woman!

In 1998, citizens suggested an idea, to further promote tourism. "How about we all show off our Hina dolls and make them visible on the street for everyone to see?" The concept proved to be a success. Now, every year, the city has hosted the event since 1999, allowing curious tourists to spy on some 6.000 dolls that are lined up on the verandas of houses and shops, one of the most impressive collections of Hina dolls displayed at the same time.

In the Asuke neighborhood, you can see old and new dolls, even some extremely rare from the Edo Period, which was over 150 years ago. But in addition to the dolls made of Kimono fabric, there are also those made of clay and hand painted, which are also important historical items. Other unique sets made of various materials should also be displayed.

Today, Hina Matsuri symbol dolls are considered family heirlooms, precious pieces that are carefully packaged and kept until the festival period. During the event they are arranged on a multilevel altar (Hina-dan) in hierarchical order, dressed in imperial court attire. The number of dolls and decks on the platform varies, but in general there are 15 dolls arranged on five or seven floors. "Hina Dan" is always covered by a red carpet called "Dankake" or Hi-mosen. The full game can be purchased at a department store but can cost more than 350 1,000 yen. Thus, since a game for Hina Matsuri can be transferred from one generation to another, it is considered a family good.

The arrangement of the dolls follows a hierarchy.

  • The first and the highest level is for the "Dairisama" (Imperial Palace), so that this level is reserved for the Emperor and the Empress richly dressed. The costume of the Empress is called "jūnihitoe" (ceremonial mantle of twelve layers of the Heian Period). Even today the kimono "jūnihitoe" is used in the marriage ceremony of the royal family. The "imperial couple" must always occupy the highest step and the Emperor always to the left of the Empress.
  • Three Ladies of the Court, representing the class of the aristocracy
  • Five Musicians, representing the artists and literati
  • 2 Ministers and offerings, representing government and religious officials
  • 3 Samurai and Plants, Representing Warrior Class and Feudal Domains
  • Objects used in the Court - lacquered furniture miniatures, kimono chests, dressing table, tea ceremony utensils, sewing box.
  • Objects used outside the court, representing the common people - lacquered miniatures of ox cart, palanquem, stackable boxes, cart of flowers

So the Japanese Hina dolls are a bit difficult for a tourist to see

 Why the dolls' exhibition usually lasts about two weeks before the date of the event, and will be stored again after the festival ends. This is due to an old superstition, it is believed that families who take time to store their dolls, find it difficult to marry their daughters. Other factors increase its rarity, households with male descendants simply do not own the dolls and after the daughters are married, they are immediately kept, no longer displayed. For such reasons, people who visit Japan rarely see the dolls, much less witness several sets.

Date: Approximately from 15 from February to March 15 (according to year) Free.

Open Hours: Das10: 00 to 16: 00 (varies by store)

Aichi, Toyota, Asuke-cho, Kuranomae 16

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