Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Hina Matsuri

Hyakudan Hina Doll Festival

My English student, Manami, invited Dave and me to join her for lunch and to visit the Hyakudan Hina Doll Festival. The festival was being held in Tokyo at the Hotel Gajoen.

The hotel was stunning. In the courtyard garden was a koi pond and a waterfall!

We were able to walk around a short path that led behind the waterfall!

The hotel is very popular for weddings and events. Besides the garden courtyard, there were beautiful wall murals, water features inside the hotel, flowers, and miniature Shrines.

Lunch was delicious. We had 90 minutes to enjoy a buffet. It was a fusion of western and eastern cuisine. After lunch, we went to visit the Hyakudan Hina Doll Festival. The Hina Doll Festival or Hina Matsuri is celebrated on March 3rd. The celebration marks the change of the season and aligns with Girls’ Festival. During the celebration, families, display their Hina Doll collection, eat a variety of lucky foods, and pray for the health and growth of girls. The shape and style of Hina Dolls vary throughout the different regions of Japan. This year, the Hyakudan Hina Matsuri highlighted the Omi, Mino, and Hida regions (central Japan).

Only a few rooms allowed photographs of the dolls. This display at the entrance is from a shop in Tokyo. The bride and groom sit on the top shelf. Their servants, musicians, and attendants sit on the lower rows.

This group of pictures features ceramic Hina Dolls.

The old part of the hotel housed the exhibit. We climbed 100 stairs and visited 7 rooms with different displays. Please be careful and watch you step and head!

Here is another collection of Dolls.

Plus a bonus of Manami and me!

After our visit to the festival, we stopped by the Daienji Temple on our way to the train station. The seven Lucky Gods statues were so cute! And the gold leaf Buddha was beautiful.

Dave and I enjoyed the time we spent with Manami. She was an excellent tour guide throughout the day. She flawlessly navigated us around the city trains and the exhibit. It was such a special day and we all enjoyed it very much.

Hina Matsuri

The February meeting of Ikebana was a field trip to the Meguro Gajoen in Tokyo to view the Hina Matsuri. Hina Matsuri are Japanese dolls dressed in traditional court attire. The dolls are typically displayed in households the month prior to Girls’ Day which is March 3rd.

The Meguro Gajoen had a special display of Hina Matsuri throughout seven rooms which were connected by the venue’s beautiful Hyakudan Kaidan (Hundred-Step Staircase). Yes, there were literally 100 steps. There was a number on each one as you climbed. Fortunately, the seven display rooms were staggered throughout the climb allowing you time to rest as you viewed the dolls.

The dolls dated back to the late 1800s and came from the Kyushu region of Japan.

One of the Japanese members of Ikebana explained to us the tradition of Hina Matsuri. When a girl is born into a family, she is usually given a Hina Matsuri display from her grandparents. It is either purchased new or often passed down through generations. It is said to bring her good luck, health, and a happy marriage. The display is set up about a month before Girls’ Day in the family home. Often, when the girl is young, she is photographed with the display. The display is promptly taken down and packed away after Girls’ Day to prevent back luck, illness or a girl from not finding a husband. She told us because she had only boys, her parents would put out the display and take a picture of their female dog among the Hina Matsuri as a joke. 

The unfortunate part was photography was not permitted of the displays. I was able to take a few pictures of the Meguro Gajoen, which was beautiful and pictures of the display case in the reception area with a modern Hina Matsuri collection.

On the top level are the bride and groom dressed in traditional kimonos (12 layers). The servants, attendants and cooks are in the lower levels. 

The Ume Blossoms in the display were real!! 

There were also beautiful Ume arrangements throughout the venue. 

Here is a picture of some of the Ikebana members.


Pictured below are mobiles with cloth animals and woven balls known as sagemon.

One of the restaurants overlooked a garden with a waterfall! 

I also need to tell you about the bathroom. There was a bridge and a wishing pond! Seriously. 

It was yet another wonderful opportunity to learn about Japanese culture and see a beautiful venue. 

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