The Big Hina Matsuri festival began with the idea of gathering unwanted hina dolls from all over Japan and holding a service for them. There are now similar festivals in Chiba prefecture and Wakayama prefecture, but the original was and continues to be held in Tokushima prefecture in Katsuura town’s Ningyo Bunka Koryukan (Doll Cultural Exchange Hall).
At this year’s 27th festival there were some 30,000 dolls on display – the number has been growing steadily every year.
As I enter the venue, I am suddenly faced with an enormous multi-tiered hina doll stand.
But it’s too early to be surprised by just this.
A gigantic pyramid-shaped, multi-tiered hina doll stand, the symbol of the Big Hina Matsuri, stands in the middle of the venue!
The 25-tiered hina doll stand, with an unbelievable total of 100 steps, is a combination of 4 x 8 meter high sides each with a base width of 20 meters.
Looking up at this masterpiece definitely has a huge impact.
Though the pyramid-shaped stand is the central piece, there are numerous other hina doll stands on display around it. People who have brought their dolls here may still be able to find them somewhere!
As the theme for this year was “Memories from the Picnic”, there were also corners where hina dolls were displayed together with yusanbako*.
*Yusanbako are the traditional multi-tiered boxes of Tokushima prefecture. In the olden days, when people went for a trip to the mountains (for a picnic, yusan), they were used as lunch boxes.
At the inner part of the venue, you can enjoy matcha green tea and teacakes.
A short rest while surrounded by numerous hina dolls is just what the doctor ordered.
By the exit, Katsuura specialties such as mandarins and strawberries, as well as products made from them are on sale.
The strawberries are especially delicious! How about taking some home as souvenirs?
This year the Big Hina Matsuri lasted until the 5th of April, and at weekends various events such as magic shows and band performances were organized. The event also coincided with the Katsuura cherry blossom festival held from March 25th.
Come visit and see all the hina dolls. Maybe they’ll resurrect some nostalgic memories?!
Big Hina Matsuri
Location: 35-1 Tsukinose, Ikuna, Katsuura, Katsuura district, Tokushima prefecture
(Katsuura Ningyo Bunka Koryu Kan)
Held: (in 2015) / February 22nd (Sun) through April 5th (Sun) * Open every day during this period
Admission: General JPY300 , Elementary school students JPY100, Free entry to children under elementary school age, Group discount available for groups of 10 persons and over
Parking: Available for 100 cars (Parking available for large buses, as well)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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