On March 3rd, on Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival), the families with daughters exhibit gorgeous sets of dolls dressed in the Heian period style, the Hina Matsuri dolls (hina-ningyo).
The Hina Matsuri sets (new or passed from generation to generation) are gifts given to the little girl by parents or grandparents. A new set is very expensive, usually starting from 50-60.000 yen (5-600 USD) and going up to 1 million yen. I even saw sets with a price tag of 3 million yen - over 30000 USD!
A full set is comprised of several dolls, carefully arranged in an established order: the Emperor and the Empress, three court ladies (sannin-kanjo), five musicians (gonin-bayashi), two ministers (udaijin and sadaijin), three servants and a variety of miniature furniture, tools, carriages. However, a full set is not only very expensive but also takes a lot of place, so the most popular sets include only the Emperor and the Empress.
Travel Tip: There’s a group of 6-7 stores specialized in Hina Matsuri dolls around the JR Asakusabashi Station, Tokyo. If you visit Tokyo, take 3-4 hours to visit them and you will not regret it! The dolls are amazingly beautiful, in a variety of styles not matched by any museum.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: