Town of Dolls

Each March 3, Hina Matsuri (the Girl’s Festival or the Dolls Festival), families celebrate the growth and good health of their daughters by displaying Hina (which literally means a chick) dolls at home. Traditionally the dolls, dressed in ancient Japanese court attire, were usually displayed on a platform five or six stages. But because nowadays the dolls are rather expensive and take up a lot of space in the home, more families tend to buy only a single pair of male and female dolls, or do nothing special on the Hina Matsuri.

But here at Konosu City Office in Saitama Prefecture, a huge display of dolls — as many as 4,538 — is arrayed on a massive tiered stand of 30 levels, which stands 6.7 meters at its highest point. Konosu City has a history of doll-making going back over 380 years and started this festival in 2005. It attracts many visitors to the city. A kokeshi (a wooden doll characterized by its simple shape with a uniformly cylindrical body and a round head) might be more famous as a Japanese doll, but these Hina dolls are also worth a closer look. The annual festival is usually held from mid-February to March 5.



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