Happy Girls Day!

There are a lot of girls in our household – I’m the only guy.  We’ll be celebrating Girls Day, or Hinamatsuri.

We’ll have chirashi-sushi for dinner with clam soup, and the girls will make Hishimochi (pink and white shaped rice cakes) and hina-arare (bite sized crackers, ours will be sweet rather than soy-flavoured.

My wife has an antique mini-version of the hina-dan doll decorations, which she used to play with as a girl herself.  This has been kept in a cardboard box for the best part of 10 years, I’m amazed that it has stayed in place after being carted around the world.  We’re finally living in a place with enough place to display. Here it is


The display is beautiful.  It’s a shame we’ll have to put this away until next February – as if we keep all year round, the tradition is that in the future our daughters will have bad luck in love.

The dolls are arranged in a musical glass case, this is a mini-version of the more elaborate 7-tier Hina-dan.  The set-up is very intricate, the below points are just a summary

  • The Tier 1 ‘Imperial Dolls’ are top left.  Odairi-sama (Prince) in blue, and Ohina-sama (Princess) in red. The dolls are flanked by Bonbori lanterns, with gold byōbu folding screens behind them.
  • Top right are the Tier 2 San-nin Kanjo three court ladies, holding sake equipment.  The seated lady in the middle is the Sanpo sake bearer.
  • On the lower half in the upper stand are the Tier 3 Gonin Bayashi (Five male musicians), holding a small taiko drum, large drum, hand drum, flute, and a singer.
  • Either side of the musicians are the two Tier 4 Daijin ministers.  They are in front of a mandarin orange tree on the right Ukon no tachibana and a cherry blossom tree on the left  Sakon no sakura.
  • There are three Samurai as the protectors of the Prince and Princess, who are in Tier 5 of the larger Hina-dan.  The miniature furniture and carriages would be on the sixth and seventh tiers.  The chest references the traditional custom of a newlywed wife bringing a chest of drawers (tansu) with them when they get married and join their husband.

Here are some more detailed photos.


‘Hishimochi’ rice cakes in front of the Ohina-sama Princess


The Sanpo sake bearer in the middle of the San-nin Kanjo


Minister in front of a Mandarin Tree


Samurai (front) with Musicians in the background


Intricate minature chests, with a Samurai in the background


Minister in front of a cherry blossom tree