The icon of Spring in Japan may be the cherry blossoms, but there are some other iconic Spring events that may not be widely known to the world outside of Japan. One of them is ‘Ohinasama’ -a traditional celebration day for Japanese girls.
Hinamatsuri is a special day to celebrate girls. Each year on March 3 (or in April, depending on the region), a set of ornamental dolls are displayed on platforms covered with a red carpet-material.
The Ohinasama platforms are generally 7-steps – the dolls on top represent the Emperor & Empress (marriage ceremony), followed by attendants and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.
Families with girl children starts displaying Ohinasama in February and taken down immediately after the festival. On the celebration day, the customary drink, called shirozake, a sake made from fermented rice, is served. A bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce depending on the region, and a diamond-shaped colored rice cake (called Hishi-mochi), are also icons of the tradition.
For travelers, a temple in Shizuoka that is famous for hosting “Ohinasama festival” might be of interesting spot to visit. Every year between January and March, if you visit the temple, you will see an amazing display of 1200 dolls.