Every year on Mar., Hina (Doll) Festivals are held to pray for the health of young girls. The day is known as Momo no Sekku, a date that traditionally marked the coming of spring. The custom is said to have begun in the Heian period (794-1185) when people would try to drive away evil spirits by transferring them to dolls. Although the custom varies throughout Japan, families with young girls still display dolls today. Dolls were set up in early February on risshun (“onset of spring”) in the old calendar, and people celebrate by eating three mochi rice cakes in different colors: green, pink and white. In Yanagawa, the first Hina Festival for a baby girl is marked with sagemon, colorful hanging decorations that each family has passed down over generations.
Yanagawa Hina Festival 2021
2/11 (Thu., hol.) ~ 4/3 (Sat.)
Ohina-sama Water Parade
During the Ohina-sama Water Parade, young girls dressed in kimono ride down canals in boats decorated with hina dolls. About 200 brightly dressed girls and their mothers glide along downtown Yanagawa’s canals, which are also decked out with sagemon, in nearly a dozen riverboats. Participation is open to any mother and daughter who apply in advance. The boats float at a leisurely pace, making the parade a popular destination for shutterbugs looking to snap some pictures from the banks.
• 3/21 (Sun.) 11:00~12:20 *in case of rain: 3/28 (Sun.)
Okinohata Sagemon Park
This is a new spot for 2021. Warrior banners of Tachibana Muneshige and Ginchiyo’s along with a 100-meter long Sagemon scrolls will be displayed. At night, lanterns will be lit.
• 2/11 (Thu., hol.) ~ 4/3 (Sat.)
• Okinohata Boat Harbor
• 83 Inari-machi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka
In Yanagawa, a girl’s first Hina Festival is an important occasion. Sagemon and two Yanagawa decorative balls are hung next to the doll stand, and a big celebration is held to pray for the child’s health. The tradition began at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), when people who had baby girls began making decorations from cloth scraps and hanging them on either side of the doll stand. In Yanagawa, sagemon are often in the shape of auspicious creatures, such as rabbits and cranes. Nowadays, when spring draws near, everyone in town hangs the colorful sagemon in their homes and shops, making for a sight to behold. See the largest sagemon display inside Yokamon-kan, a shop on Kyomachi Dori that offers many specialties of Yanagawa.
• 2/11 (Thu., Hol.) ~ 4/3 (Sat.)
• Giant Sagemon: Yanagawa Yokamon-kan
• 13-1 Kyomachi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka
Ohina-sama opening ritual
This is the kick-off event for Yanagawa Hina Festival. At Hiyoshi Shrine, they pray for the arrival of spring, the healthy growth of children, and the safety of the Yanagawa hina festival
*NOTE the annual Ohina-sama Parade has been canceled due to the pandemic.
• 2/11 (Thu., hol.)
• From Hiyoshi Shrine
• 7 Sakamoto-machi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka (Hiyoshi Shrine)
Kimono Day – a Great Chance for Photos!
Mar. 13 and 14 is Yanagawa Kimono Day—when almost everyone in town dons a kimono! Visitors who show up at the Yanagawa Tourist Information Center wearing a kimono will receive some benefits such as free admission into some of the paid facilities.
Hina-Viewing Boat Tours
Enjoy a 50-minute hina-viewing boat tour from Tsujimon to Okinohata. This unique opportunity will afford you a completely different view of the Hina Festival. Before heading home, be sure to check out the giant sagemon in the Yanagawa Shopping Arcade.
• Weekends between 3/13 (Sat.) ~ 3/28 (Sun.)
• Four boat rides available/day
• Adult: ¥800, Child: ¥400
• Ticket reservations: Yanagawa Tourist Information Center (0944-74-0891) *Reservation must be made at least one day in advance.
Yanagawa Canal Boat Punting
Local oarsmen use a single-pole to gently glide the punts along a four kilometer course of canals. Towards the end of festival season, you can enjoy ohanami (cherry blossom viewing) while cruising down the canal.
• Open every day
*Note:that from 2/12 (Fri.) to 2/19 (Fri.) is the “mizuochi” season where people around Yanagawa will clean up the river which means that river punting courses might be shortened.
• 9:00~evening *time varies depending on the boat company
• Adult: ¥1,500~¥1,650, 5 y.o. ~ ES: ¥800~¥830
• Four boat launches within a 10-min. walk from Nishitetsu Yanagawa Sta.
• 0944-74-0891 (Yanagawa City Tourist Information Center)
For just ¥500 per day, you can rent a bicycle from locations to conveniently see all the sagemon in Yanagawa, the canal ends or continue further to see the banks of the Ariake Sea.
• Hakata Sta. – (Subway 5 min.) – Tenjin Sta. (Walk 5 min.) – Nishitetsu Fukuoka Tenjin Sta. – (Nishitetsu Omuta line 50 min.) – Nishitetsu Yanagawa Sta.
• To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, please cooperate by wearing a mask at all event venues.
• We may ask you to cooperate with body temperature checks before entering venues.
• We may set a limit on the number of participants at event venues.
• The schedule of events may change depending on the situation of the pandemic. Please check for updates on the official website before setting out.