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Fukuoka Hina Matsuri Guide 2022

Every year, families across Japan celebrate Hina Matsuri, otherwise known as Girls’ Day or Doll’s Day. This traditional festival, which takes place on Mar. 3, is an occasion to pray for the well-being and prosperity of little girls. It is thought that the festival has its roots in an ancient purification ceremony, in which dolls were floated down the river, taking all of the girls’ bad luck with them.

In the Edo period, Hina Matsuri was one of several sekku (seasonal festivals) celebrated in the Imperial Court, all of which were and still are marked by the enjoyment of specific food and drink. For Hina Matsuri, many indulge in hishi mochi (pink, white and green rhomboid-shaped rice cakes), shirozake (sweet white sake), chirashizushi (scattered sushi) and hamaguri no osuimono (clear clam soup). Many begin displaying their dolls from around risshun (Feb. 4), often on platforms covered in red carpet. Family dolls are hastily hidden on Mar. 4: it is said that if you put a girl’s dolls away after Hina Matsuri ends, she will marry late in life.

It is only recently that public venues have begun displaying dolls as well, focusing on dolls which express the traditions and culture of the area. These displays attract Japanese and non-Japanese tourists alike, and there are often special workshops and events held over February and March. Why not take a day trip to one of the locations in our guide? Enjoy the first days of spring and the traditional dolls and decorations native to each area!

Note:The situation regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus changes daily. Please follow local authorities’ advice by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and other guidelines. By sharing information about events and places to go, Fukuoka Now is NOT encouraging unsafe practices. If you partake in these events or travel, please practice safe behavior for yourself and others.

Fukuoka Prefecture (8)
Saga Prefecture (2)
Oita Prefecture (2)

Fukuoka Prefecture

Yanagawa Hina Matsuri & Sagemon Meguri

At this time of year, Yanagawa is full of sagemon, a traditional craft native to the area. Sagemon are traditional hanging mobiles, given to newborn baby girls for their first Hina Matsuri. When walking through the town, look out for pink flags – these mark the locations where you can view sagemon. On Mar. 20 (Sun.), shutterbugs are drawn to Yanagawa from across the land for the Ohina-sama Water Parade: river boats float down the river, each holding a bevy of little girls in bright kimono (along with their mothers), but only one also transports volunteers dressed up as the emperor and empress. (*The Ohina-sama Water Parade will be moved to Mar. 27 in case of inclement weather.)

• 2/11 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 4/3 (Sun.)
• Free (some venues charge entry fees)
• Yanagawa city area, Yanagawa Shopping Arcade etc. (Sagemon Meguri official map PDF)
• 0944-74-0891 (Yanagawa City Tourist Association)
• Check our special page “Yanagawa Hina Festival 2022

Hina Meguri in the Ancient Capital Akizuki

Akizuki, dotted with the ruins of Akizuki Castle and other gates and residences designated as cultural assets, is an elegant town that once prospered as a castle town. During the hina decoration season, historic hina dolls are displayed throughout the town and open to the public, so you can enjoy “Hina Meguri” while strolling the streets. This year, there are 28 displays. Among them, the display of more than 600 Hina dolls donated by citizens on the 21 stone steps in front of the Nagayamon Gate of Akizuki Castle Ruins, which are used as a platform for displaying Hina dolls, is particularly worth seeing (February 23, 26-27, March 5-6, or canceled in case of rain).

• 2/11 (Fri.,hol.) ~ 3/6 (Sun.)
• Free (some facilities require a fee)
• Venues: Nagayamon Gate of Akizuki Castle Ruins, the castle town of Akizuki (Akizuki, Asakura City / Akizukinotori) and more 28 locations (Hinameguri Map official PDF)
0946-24-6758 (Asakura Tourism Association)

Hinamatsuri Exhibition at Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan

Celebrate this year’s Doll’s Festival at Hakata Machiya! Be sure to check out the dolls on the second floor of the Exhibition Hall. Visitors can also find out more about the tools used in the doll-making process and take photographs of the exhibits during the festival! Exhibits include explanations in English and Japanese.

• 3/1 (Tue.) ~ 4/3 (Sun.)
• 10:00 ~ 18:00 (admission until: exhibition hall 17:30, machiya hall 18:00)
• Exhibition Hall ¥200, free of Machiya Hall
• Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan
6-10 Reisenmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

Mojiko Retro Hina Matsuri

Celebrate Girls’ Day at Mojiko Retro, the Meiji-era port town! Enjoy viewing the pretty, historical buildings and the hina doll displays at various locations throughout town: Meiji-period dolls (1868~1912) are exhibited at the Old Moji Customs Building and dolls from the Showa and Taisho periods (1912~89) are displayed at Sankiro. If you show the leaflet at the participating sweets shops in the Mojiko Retro area, you will get a gift.

Photos: Mojiko Retro Club

• 2/5 (Sat.) ~ 3/6 (Sun.)
• Free
• Venues:
Sankiro (3-6-8 Kiyotaki, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka. *Closed: Mon.)
Old Moji Customs (1-24 Higashiminato-machi, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka)
Sakae-machi Gintengai (Sakae-machi, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka)
and more
093-332-0106 (Mojiko Retro Club)

Iizuka Hina Matsuri

Iizuka Hina Matsuri is one of Japan’s biggest zashikibina (hina dolls arranged around a miniature festival scene)! At the old Residence of Ito Denemon, which was recently designated as a national important cultural property in December 2020, the 20 tatami mats of the tatami room are decorated with Hina dolls, the largest in Japan. This year’s theme is “A feast of nobles and warriors with Hina” which expresses the world of the elegant noble family and the world of the honest and sturdy samurai family, interwoven in a gorgeous scene of a banquet. Don’t forget to check out the other 12 exhibitions too!

• 2/5 (Sat.) ~ 3/21 (Mon., hol.) *Times vary by venue. Check the official web page.
• Venues: Old Residence of Ito Denemon, Iizuka City Historical Museum, Chidoriya and more (Iizuka City guide map PDF)
0948-22-3511 (Iizuka Tourism Association)

Yame Bonbori Festival

Yame is not only known for its paper, lanterns, Buddhist altars and wax, it’s also known for producing some of Kyushu’s best hina dolls. Until the mid 1950s, Yame specialized in making hakobina, dolls in special display boxes, but nowadays they make all kinds of dolls, many of which are displayed at the Yame Doll Hall – including dolls that daughters of the Tokugawa Shogun families took with them when they got married. Over 100 different locations display hina dolls, and they can be recognized by rose-colored lanterns hanging outside.

• 2/20 (Sun.) ~ 3/13 (Sun.)
• Free
• Venues: Around the Yame Fukushima shirakabe (white-walled building area)
(Ohinasama Meguri official map PDF)
0943-22-6644 (Yame City Tourism Association)

Chikugo Yoshii Ohinasama Meguri

Here there are several venues, including residences and shops, that display hina dolls, ranging from Edo-period dolls (1603-1868) to contemporary models. The area is famous for the Shirakabe Dozo district, where the river is lined by attractive former warehouses, all with traditional wood and white plaster exteriors. The doll displays of Ukiha usually feature two types of dolls: okiage (paper cut-outs covered in cotton and wrapped in fabric) and hakobina (dolls in individual display cases). The doll displays are surrounded by handmade decorations inspired by kabuki or ukiyo-e. During the festival period, you can rent an electric bicycle for ¥1,000, and on Sundays after February 27, you can take a rickshaw for ¥500~/per person.

At the general information center, “Kura,” there will be a display of restored “Kyoho Hina” dolls, which were born in the luxurious and gorgeous era of the mid-Edo period. This is one of the largest dolls in Japan, which was restored to life-size based on the average height of 155cm in the Edo period, and all the costumes, including tailoring and dressing, were made in earnest.

• 2/11 (Fri., hol.) ~ 4/3 (Sun.)
• 10:00~17:00
• Free
Yoshii-machi, Ukiha City, Fukuoka (Ohinasama Meguri official map PDF)
0943-76-3980 (Ukiha City Sightseeing Information)

Saga Prefecture

Arita Hina no Yakimono Festival

In the ceramic town of Arita, the Hina Doll Festival, Arita-yaki dolls with lustrous skin and delicate paintings decorate the town. At Arita Sera, The world’s largest porcelain seven-tiered Hinamatsuri dolls were created over a period of three years, and at the Arita Kan, you can see dolls created respectively by Kakiemon Kiln and Koransha, which represent Arita Town, and by Meissen Porcelain Works in Germany, a sister city of Arita Town.

• 2/5 (Sun.) ~ 3/13 (Sun.)
• Free
• Venues: various places in Arita Town, Arita Kan, Arita Será (official Map PDF)
0955-43-2121 (Arita Tourism Association)

Saga Joka Hina Matsuri

In the town of Saga, several venues are showing off hina dolls that date all the way back to the Meiji Period. View dolls wearing costumes made from Saga nishiki (a form of brocading technique from Saga Prefecture) and dolls wearing costumes bearing the Nabeshima family’s signature pattern, Nabeshima komon. In the town, the road Nagasaki Kaido gained the nickname “Sugar Road” because it was used to transport sugar throughout the country; this led to many confectioners setting up shop along the road.

Photo by Saga City Tourism Association Photo gallery

• 3/1 (Tue., hol.) ~ 3/21 (Mon.,hol.)
• 10:00~17:00
• Chokokan only: ¥500, Cultural Museum only: ¥400, JHS and under: Free
*All other venues are free to enter
• Venues: Saga City Cultural Museum, The Museum Chokokan Nabeshima and more
0952-20-2200 (Saga Tourism Association)

Oita Prefecture

Usuki Hina Meguri

According to old manuscripts, during the revolution of the Tempo era (1841~43) the decoration of hina dolls was prohibited in the Usuki Domain in an attempt to enforce a frugal lifestyle on the people. Parents were reduced to secretly making simple dolls out of paper, so that they could still wish for the well-being of their daughters on Hina Matsuri. This story inspired Usuki Hina Meguri: back in 2006, a group of volunteers wanted to recreate the dolls of this period, but the original methods had been forgotten over time. So they used tachibina (standing dolls, the original kind of hina doll) as a starting point to create something that comes close, which are now called Usukibina. During the period, 500 pairs of Usukibina handmade by the citizens will be displayed at venues.

Photo by Usuki City Tourism Association facebook

• 2/5 (Sat.) ~ 3/6 (Sun.)
• Free
• Venues: Usuki Tourism and Community Plaza, Sala de Usuki
0972-64-7130 (Usuki City Tourist Information Association)

Tenryo Hita Ohina Matsuri

During the Edo period, Hita was one of first towns in Kyushu to flourish, and this is reflected in the luxurious Edo-period hina dolls still being displayed today. Most of the venues are located in the Mameda-machi and Kuma-machi areas, and a must-see spot is Kusano Honke (a nationally designated Important Cultural Property). Look out for the elegant okiage! On Mar. 6 (Sun.) between 10:00 and 14:00, take part in Mameda Nagashibina at Keirinso Park: write a wish on a kamibina (paper doll) and send it down the river to purify yourself. Whilst you’re in the area, why not buy a coupon pack (¥1,500, valid Feb. 15 to Mar. 31) from the Hita City Tourist Information Center? Each pack contains three coupons, which you can use for a day’s bicycle rental, entry to 10 different facilities in the area, and bathing at those facilities with a sento (public bath).

Photo by Hita Tourism Association

• 2/15 (Tue.) ~ 3/31 (Thu.) *venues vary by date
• Free (some venues charge entry fees)
• Venues in Mameda-machi area and Kuma area, Hita City, Oita and more (Ohina Matsuri official map PDF)
0973-22-2036 (Hita Tourism Association)

NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us. This report was originally written in February 2017.

Originally written in February 2017, updated Feb. 2021.
Copyright Fukuoka Now – including all text, photos and illustrations. Permission required to re-use in any form. Meanwhile, feel free to link to to this page.

Art & Culture
Seasonal Guide
Fukuoka Prefecture
Published: Feb 10, 2022 / Last Updated: Feb 14, 2022

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