Hina Matsuri-A Day For Girls

Since I saw the Hina Matsuri dolls my first year in Japan, I have wanted a set. If you know anything about me you will know that I would not want the huge seven tired set that can be seen this time of year in Japan.  Hina Matsuri takes place on March 3 and celebrates Girl’s Day. This is the day that families pray for the health and prosperity of their girls. It helps to ensure that they grow up healthy and beautiful.  A girl’s first Hina Matsuri is called her hatsu-zekku. On her first Girl’s Day it is very popular for her grandparents to buy her a set of dolls to display:


The display can have up to seven tiers arranged with dolls and furniture. The top tier always has the emperor and empress displayed with a gilded screen behind them. Most families display their dolls beginning in mid-February and put them away immediately after Hina Matsuri is over. They believe that families who are slow to put away their dolls will have a hard time marrying off their daughters.

There is a new little shop near my house that sells traditional Japanese gifts and crafts from all over Japan. This is what I found:


It’s the small set I have been looking for.  They are made of wood and I love the hand painted detail.  The tiny emperor is just 4 inches tall and the empress is just 3 inches.  I also felt good helping this new little shop.

Last Monday, when I returned from the US I had a beautiful gift waiting for me.  My French friends Frederic, Karine, Zoe and Aimie gave me this set as a thank you gift for keeping Zoe while Karine was in the hospital giving birth to Aimie.


It was totally unexpected, but very much appreciated.  It is so beautiful and unique.  I have never seen a set like this.  It’s such a wonderful gift and it will always remind me of wonderful friends and the fun that I had with my little friend Zoe.

There are special treats on Girl’s Day.  Shops stock feminine looking sweets in pastel colors.  Yesterday, I decided to try some traditional Japanese sweets.  They are delicate pink pancakes filled with red bean paste, rolled and wrapped in a leaf that has bean soaked in something slightly salty.  The salty taste was a nice contrast to the sweet red bean paste.

Happy Hina Matsuri!



  1. Apparently, Mom got her Hani Matsura dolls put away on time, so I can’t blame her for why I am not yet married off?! Oh well. I was hoping to find a somewhat valid excuse 😉

  2. Hina Matsuri is the correct spelling…I knew I would get it wrong…what did I say…Hani Matsura…yeah, I don’t speak Japanese…

  3. Very beautiful dolls – all of them! Thanks for sharing the story.

    p/s just read your cupcakes thread too – the photos sure made me hungry!

  4. I love the dolls, (lucky me, we were with you for your purchase, CUTE STORE!!
    What a fun gift to receive! You babushka you!
    I am glad you had a nice time in Utah/the states. I could almost smell the cupcakes! I know how you feel about deteriorating health and watching loved ones age. (Our kids are going to be saying that soon enough, if they haven’t already started…)
    See you soon…

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