Hina Matsuri: The Japanese Doll Festival
Hina Matsuri, also known as the Japanese Doll Festival or Girls’ Day, is celebrated on March 3 every year.
Hina are the special dolls for the occasion and matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday.
Families and communities wish health and happiness for all girls on this special day.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through and making a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. All proceeds help support our free global education website. Thank you!
Hina dolls are typically a gift from a girl’s grandparents for her first Hina Matsuri, or she may receive a set that has been passed down in her family. The dolls are beautifully detailed and represent the royal court.
Starting weeks before the festival, families display the dolls on a tiered stand called a hinadan that is covered with red cloth.
The stand may have 5 or 7 tiers, with the top tier reserved for the Emperor and Empress, followed by guardians, musicians, and servants.
The display also includes small meal dishes, small furniture pieces like chests and stands, and fresh peach blossoms.
Everything is to be put away quickly after March 3. Otherwise, according to legend, the girls in the family will marry late.
Hina Matsuri Preparation
Hina Matsuri Foods
Traditional food and drinks are an important part of the celebration.
Hina Matsuri Activities
- Make your own hina-ningyo display.
- Make hina dolls (paper and wooden peg).
- Make an Origami Hina Doll – with diagrams and animation.
- Read Yoko’s Show-and-Tell by Rosemary Wells. Find it in a library near you.
When Yoko’s grandparents send her a beautiful antique doll named Miki all the way from Japan, Yoko couldn’t be happier. She places Miki on her red carpet and brings her candy until Girls’ Festival on March 3. Even though Mama said no, Yoko decides to sneak Miki to school for show-and-tell. How could she have guessed that Miki would be in an accident along the way? Looks like a trip to the Doll Hospital is in order!
Learn about another Japanese celebration, Shichi-Go-San.
Explore our Japan Profile page for a detailed country map, infographic, photo gallery, informational video, book suggestions, learning activities, and more!
Discover Japan’s geography and culture with our interactive Country Research Project for young explorers.
- hina-arare by Arashiyama (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- chirashi-zushi by Arashiyama (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- ushio jiru flickr: Dylan Hardesty
- amazake flickr: Yusuke Kawasaki