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Hinamatsuri at the Keio Plaza Hotel - 2018

In Japan, the Hinamatsuri, or Girl’s Day/Doll’s Day, is celebrated on March 3.  However, the Keio Plaza in Shinjuku has started its annual celebrations a little early.  In the main lobby they have a wonderful display, completely free, for everyone to enjoy.  If you like dolls, make sure you don’t miss this event!

The Emperor and his Empress at the Hinamatsuri in Shinjuku

According to newspapers the display had 6800 dolls, which is an amazing number, and of course all of them were very beautiful.  The most popular dolls were the Emperor and Empress, together with their court ladies, advisers and musicians, all in traditional court dress of the Heian period and arranged on a tiered display - Emperor and Empress at the top of course.  Around that was a big framework from which the rest of the dolls were hung.  Those dolls, on the framework, looked very different to the court dolls.

The difference was that the dolls on the framework were all handmade.  Apparently in the Edo period, the average person couldn’t afford the Emperor and his court as they were too expensive so they made their own fun!  They got pieces of kimono cloth and stitched together their own, known as tsurushi kazari.  They are extremely cute and sure to grab the interest of kids, and actually anyone who loves dolls!  Each of those dolls has a different meaning.  For example, peaches are supposed to ward off evil and bring longevity; plums which are symbols of chastity, and; rabbits that are messengers of the gods.

If you are interested in Girl’s Day dolls, or dolls in general and in Tokyo I highly recommend the Keio Plaza Hotel’s display.  It runs until March 29, so there is still a lot of time left to see it.  And if you if you want to read more about the Hinamatsuri, you can read this article on Wikipedia.  The Keio Plaza Hotel’s website is here.

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