Hina dolls gathered up in a port town! 2024 Katsuura Big Hinamatsuri (Feb. 23 – Mar. 3)

Katsuura is a tourist destination popular for its beautiful seascape, a morning market, etc. There, not only can you enjoy its charm, but you can also immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture during the season of “Hinamatsuri.”

In Japan, March 3 is a time for Hinamatsuri. It is a festival said to be originated by combining one of the five seasonal festivals originated in China called “Joshi no Sekku” and young girls’ doll play during the Edo period called “Hīna Asobi.” Also known as “Momo no Sekku,” it is widely known as an event in which people wish for the healthy growth of girls by setting up a display of Hina dolls, Hina rice crackers, cherry blossoms and peach blossoms, etc. and by eating chirashi sushi.

Among all these things, the main aspect of Hinamatsuri is, of course, Hina dolls. Although compact one-tier platforms with only an emperor doll and an empress doll are popular in recent years due to the housing situation, we long for the traditional, large and gorgeously decorated multi-tier platforms.

For those who want to see such gorgeous Hina decorations, there is a perfect event called “2024 Katsuura Big Hinamatsuri.” The venue is set up in the port town of Katsuura City located in southern Chiba Prefecture, which is the home of Narita Airport. It is one of the popular tourist destinations famous for attractions and specialty dishes such as the beautiful sea, which is said to have the highest water clarity in the Kanto region, a morning market, and Katsuura Tantan noodles.

During the festival, the entire town turns into one big venue with countless Hina dolls displayed on Tomisaki Shrine’s stone stairs, as well as at different venues in the city such as Kakuoji temple and the Tona crossing.

Tomisaki Shrine’s stone stairs are especially a must see. The sight of about 1,800 Hina dolls lined up on the 60 steps of the stone stairs leading up to the shrine is just otherworldly. You can also enjoy a fantastical view at night, as they are illuminated. Just for your information, the locals place all of these dolls every morning and put them away around 7 p.m. every night. If you have time, we recommend that you witness how efficiently the locals put away 1,800 dolls.

A view of Tomisaki Shrine’s at night. The shrine is illuminated to create a different atmosphere than daytime.

Special Hina doll platforms with hundreds of Hina dolls are also set up at Kakuoji temple and the Tona crossing, and the entire town is filled with a festive mood. It is also fun to see the decorations at the station, parks, and small shops, as well as to visit the Katsuura Morning Market that has over 430 years of history.

About 600 hina dolls are lined up on a special tiered stand for Hina dolls in front of Kakuoji temple.

A special tiered stand for Hina dolls with approximately 1,000 hina dolls will also be displayed at Tona crossing near Katsuura Station.

Furthermore, Katsuura City teams up with its neighboring town of Onjuku to offer so much more, including “Onjuku Machikado Tsurushi Hina Meguri” (meaning “Onjuku street corner hanging Hina tour”) that displays gorgeous hanging Hina dolls at the “Tsuki no Sabaku Kinenkan” (or “Moon Desert Museum”) and at Tezukuri no Kura (meaning “handicraft storehouse”), as well as a stamp rally for visiting different venues. During weekends of the event period, an open top bus called “Katsuura-Onjuku Hina Meguri Sky Bus” will run between Katsuura and Onjuku, so you can go back and forth between the two towns while appreciating the beautiful ocean view.

The open-top bus that can enjoy a great view (photo from last year)

Katsuura, a city with culture, history, and beautiful nature, is just two hours from central Tokyo. Why not immerse yourself in the world of the grand Hinamatsuri in Katsuura?

■DATA 2024 Katsuura Big Hinamatsuri period: February 23 - March 3, 2024 Official HP:https://www-city-katsuura-lg-jp Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/big_hinamatsuri/?hl=ja ▼Tomisaki Shrine Address: 1 Katsuura, Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture Hours: 9:00-19:00 *In the event of rain, the panels of tiered stand for Hina dolls will be displayed. ▼Kakuoji Temple Address:1297 Demizu, Katsuura City, Chiba Hours: 9:00~18:00 ▼Tona crossing Hours: 9:00~17:00 *Saturday and Sunday 9:00~18:30 ▼Katsuura-Onjuku Hina Meguri Sky Bus Fare: Free of charge Dates of operation: 2/23 (Fri.), 24 (Sat.), 25 (Sun.), 3/2 (Sat.), 3/3 (Sun.) Route: Sumina Municipal Parking Lot (Katsuura City)⇔Suga Multipurpose Plaza Parking Lot (Oyado Town) ▼Katsuura Morning Market Time: around 6:30 - 11:00 (1st-15th of every month) Shimohonmachi morning market street (16th to the end of each month) Nakahonmachi Asaichi Street Closed: Wednesdays, January 1st

(Information as of December 2023)

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