Tag Archives: festival

Hina Matsuri, the Doll Festival

Hina Matsuri is also known as the Doll Festival or Girls’ Day in Japan.  It’s a celebration of girls and held on March 3rd.  Traditionally, dolls were set afloat down a river to take away the bad spirits.  On this day, families with daughters display a tiered platform with red carpet and many dolls, including the Emperor and Empress, musicians, court ladies and many traditional tools and furniture.  In my family, we have a small set, which isn’t as elaborate as the full set, but it is quite nice to look at.  The display is set up in late February and taken down immediately after the festival.  Superstition says that if it is left out too long after the festival, the daughter will marry late.

Take a look at our Hina Doll set.

This is our Hina Doll set. It's a miniature set, so less elaborate than one of the big ones.

At the top are the Emperor and Empress. There are some lamp stands and a gold folding screen. The next level has the 3 court ladies, all holding sake equipment.

The third platform has 5 male musicians, including taiko drum, otsuzumi (large drum), kotsuzumi (small drum), the flute and a singer with a folding fan.

The fourth platform has 2 diamond shaped rice cakes and a couple of miniature trees, mandarin orange on the left and cherry on the right. The fifth platform shows various tools and furniture.

This is a miniature chest of drawers.

On the left are a couple of hibachi, I believe. On the right is a mirror stand.

Not exactly sure what these are, but my guess is for cooking.

The sixth platform has some more tools. The seventh platform has some food and drink.

This is a kago, or a kind of vehicle that is carried by two people. The passengers sit inside.

This is a chest for storing kimonos.

And this is a carriage pulled by an ox.

This is hina arare, which contains puffed rice and sugar candy.

This is gelatin in 3 coloured layers, pink, white and green.

This is a kind of peach juice.

If you live in Japan and have a daughter, do you also have a Hina Doll set?


Filed under Culture, Festivals & Events

Warabi Festival 2011

On August 7, my fiancee and I went to the Warabi Matsuri in Warabi, Saitama with her sister.  Last year’s festival was pretty good, and I was looking forward to eating lots of festival food this year.  Unfortunately, we only had an hour until the end of the festival, and there was a pretty bad storm with spectacular lightning.  The rain forced us to head for cover while we tried to eat.  I had hoped to get pictures of the food stalls where I bought food, but thanks to the rain, I kept my camera safe.  However, I did get two photos!  What did I eat, you ask?  I had barbecued corn on the cob, jagabataa (potatoes and butter), yakisoba, karubi steak (beef rib meat) on a stick, and some flat gyoza-like food.  My favourite festival food is the potatoes.

Warabi has a large foreign population, and it’s one of the smallest and most densely populated cities in Japan.  There are plenty of Turkish people there, and at the festival, they sold kebab sandwiches.  Why did we go to Warabi for the festival?  It’s my fiancee’s hometown.  Enjoy the two pictures.

Warabi Matsuri is very colourful. Unfortunately, the skies were stormy.

Enjoy the colours. The focus wasn't very good, thanks to darkness and rain.


Filed under Festivals & Events, Food, Japan, Saitama, Warabi

A little Tanabata in Shonandai

Every year, I’ve managed to post something about Tanabata. This year, there were a lot of bamboo plants in Shonandai Station where you can write your wish and tie it on a branch. I did that last week. Here’s the picture.


Filed under Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa

Warabi Matsuri 2010

On August 8, 2010, I went to the Warabi Matsuri (festival).  It’s in Warabi city in Saitama.  It was cooler than it had been recently, so that was nice.  This festival is held annually, and this year was the 60th time it was held.  Sunday night’s festivities were mostly food and a live band.  I ate karaage (fried chicken), a frankfurter sausage and some jaga-butter (potato and butter).  I wanted to try more food, but I was too full!  I didn’t take many pictures, but what I did take were mostly blurry.  Sorry about that.  I have to learn to stop moving while I take a picture.  Enjoy the photos!

Welcome to Warabi Festival!

A nice welcome to the Warabi Festival.

Warabi Festival

Nice bright colours. Sorry for the blurriness.

Warabi Festival

Enjoy the colours!

Warabi Festival

Very artistic decorations.

Warabi Festival

It was pretty crowded at this festival. The street is lined with food stalls, where you can buy great food.

Warabi Festival

Another blurry picture. The one on the right is Mao Asada.

Warabi Festival

Colourful lights!


Filed under Festivals & Events, Japan, Saitama, Warabi

2010 Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival

On July 4th, I attended the 2010 Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa.  This festival is the largest Tanabata festival in the Kanto region of Japan, and is 4 days long.  It begins on the first Thursday of July.  Tanabata for much of Japan is on July 7th.

The festival, which is also known as the Star Festival, celebrates 2 legendary figures, Orihime (the star Vega) and Hikoboshi (the star Altair).  The Milky Way, a river of stars, separates these two lovers, but they are allowed to meet only once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month.  For more information, please read about it on Wikipedia.

I attended on a very hot and sunny day.  It was about 32 degrees, so quite uncomfortable in the sun.  But it was great weather to get some pictures.  The festival is held on the north side of Hiratsuka station, and was very easy to find.  Just follow the crowd!  Enjoy the pictures.

Hiratsuka Tanabata, outside Hiratsuka station

Just outside Hiratsuka station, it's very crowded. The festival was very nearby.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

There are very colourful decorations above the crowd.

Kintarou decoration

Here's Kintarou!

Hiratsuka Tanabata

More colour and more crowds.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

There are many food vendors at the festival. I had jagabataa (potato and butter).

Hiratsuka Tanabata

Here are more decorations to enjoy.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

There's a large variety of decorations.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

At the festival, there were several marching bands from universities. Here's the first one.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

Here are two girls in front of their university's marching band.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

And here's a third marching band.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

A closeup of some decorations.

Hiratsuka Tanabata

A final look at some more decorations. It was very colourful.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Have you been to this festival before?

Leave a comment

Filed under Festivals & Events, Hiratsuka, Japan, Kanagawa

Picture of the Week 6 – Tanabata, the Star Festival

It’s getting close to the time of the year for Tanabata, or the Star Festival. I’d already posted a picture about this last year, but I think this picture is much better. Tanabata is on July 7th.

Tanabata decorations

Very colourful decorations for Tanabata.


Filed under Isogo-ku, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week, Yokohama

Furusato Matsuri Tokyo – January 10, 2010

On January 10th, I went to Tokyo Dome to see the Furusato Matsuri Tokyo (ふるさと祭り東京), which is a festival celebrating food and culture from around Japan.  Tokyo Dome is in Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo, and is the home of the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants baseball team.  It’s part of an entertainment complex called Tokyo Dome City, which I will cover in the next post.  But for now, let’s take a look at the festival.

I've arrived at Tokyo Dome for the festival.

Here's the entrance of Tokyo Dome. There were many people waiting to get inside.

The wait to get inside Tokyo Dome was about 30 minutes.  The line was very long.  I took the last picture shortly before entering.   But then, I finally got to go inside.

Inside Tokyo Dome, I could now see the festival area on the field.

Down there, there are many places to buy food from all over Japan, as well as other products.

It is crowded! There are so many people here!

This is very colourful, isn't it?

An even better look. See all the dolls on it?

So far, I’d been on the floor and in the crowd for about 5 minutes.  For the next while, I explored the food stalls, which featured food from all over Japan.  There wasn’t just food, but also drinks, alcohol, and even a wine tasting area.  In the end, I had some yakisoba (fried soba noodles) from Fujinomiya in Shizuoka and some ice cream from Okinawa.

More crowds. You can see a place that sells omu soba, which is omelette with soba.

The big screen in Tokyo Dome is being used to show performances that are happening near home plate.

There's so much food being sold around here!

Yakisoba is being sold here. Mmmm, it looks good.

So, I bought some yakisoba. This is Fujinomiya yakisoba from Shizuoka prefecture. It was very good!

After some eating, the next thing to do was go watch some performances.  I had to find a seat.

Here's a view from up higher. Next, watching some performances. The sign that says "deguchi (出口)" means "exit."

This is the home plate area. Here, there are many performances being done during the 4 day long festival.

I watched 2 performances. This group, the people in purple, is from Okinawa. They're a group of elementary school students who will perform with taiko drums.

And here they are performing!

And some more. They performed for about 15 minutes.

Here are some videos.  I didn’t have any zoom, so the quality isn’t very good.  However, you’ll get a good idea about the music.

After that, the kids switched with the adults.  I’d like to note that there was a man sitting in front of me who was dancing along with the music.  You may be able to see him.

The second performance was also a group from Okinawa. They were adults, though.

The festival was very enjoyable.  I had a good time.  But then it was time to leave and make a visit to Tokyo Dome City.

Now I'm back outside Tokyo Dome. That's all for the festival!


Filed under 23 Wards, Bunkyo-ku, Festivals & Events, Japan, Tokyo