Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC

Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known as Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, Hina Matsuri is celebrated each year on March 3rd. It is a traditional Japanese festival honouring the celebration of the well-being and happiness of young girls, ensuring that they are able to lead a life blessed with luck and prosperity. 

Coinciding with the blooming of peach blossoms (ume), this festival is sometimes also referred to as Peach Festival (桃の節句 Momo no Sekku), adding a touch of hope and vitality to this festive season blessed by the fruit symbolising longevity.

Although celebrations might differ from region to region, the heart of the Hina Matsuri, which is the arrangement and display of hina-ningyo (雛人形 ornamental dolls) on an altar draped with red carpet, or dankake (段掛) and decorated along with other ornaments, remains the highlight of this festive season. 

 

The History of Hina Matsuri

Nagashibina, a traditional ritual to ward off evil spirits by sending human-shaped dolls, typically made of paper or straw, down the river.
Nagashibina, a traditional ritual to ward off evil spirits by sending human-shaped dolls, typically made of paper or straw, down the river | ©Adobe Stock

A quick look at the traditional court dress adorned by the hina-ningyo will reveal the festival’s long-standing tradition, with origins dating back to the Heian Period (平安時代) as reflected by the period attire.

The earliest form of hina-ningyo emerged through the practice of making simple human-shaped paper dolls (雛形 hinagata) for the purpose of yakubarai (厄払い), or the warding off of evil spirits, as adopted from China’s Shangsi Festival (上巳节).

Historically, people would send these dolls, usually made of paper or straw, floating down the river, in a ritual known as nagashibina (流し雛). The belief was that by doing so, any misfortunes associated with the individuals would be transferred to the dolls and carried away by the river. 

Over time, these dolls came to the object of play among aristocrats in what was called hina-asobi (雛遊び), essentially a form of playing house adored by young girls during the Heian period. As the curtains raised on the Edo Period (江戸時代), the ritual of nagashibina gradually began to take the shape of modern practices of Hina Matsuri as people started to display these dolls on altars inside their homes for a brief period each year.

Eventually, the significance of this practice began to align more closely with what we recognize today as the celebration of good health and fortune of young girls.

 

What Do the Different Tiers and Positioning of the Hina Dolls Mean?

A four-tiered hinakazari with different hina dolls, a typical sight during Hina Festival
A four-tiered
hinakazari featuring the a variety of hina dolls including the dairibina, san-nin kanjo, go-nin bayashi, and the zuijin dolls | ©photoAC

The entire doll set display, consisting of the dolls, platforms, as well as other additional ornaments, is collectively called the hinakazari (雛飾り). Doll sets can vary in tiers from one to seven, with each tier symbolizing a specific position within the traditional court hierarchy. Mirroring a wedding ceremony held during the Heian Period, the first tier is usually reserved exclusively for the Imperial dolls, or dairibina (内裏雛) served by their court. These dolls usually serve as the centerpiece of a doll set and a hinakazari simply wouldn’t be called one without the dairibina.

 

A massive display of hina dolls on a multi-tiered hinazakari in Izu Inatori
I wonder how many tiers this hinazakari comprises... | Photo by Sue Lynn

We’ll now take a look at how the hina-ningyo are arranged in a typical tiered doll set. 

  • First Tier: Collectively known as the  dairibina, these Imperial dolls representing the Emperor (お内裏様 Odairi-sama) and Empress (お雛様 Ohime-sama) are crafted delicately down to the details of their ceremonial attire, and are often placed against a gold folding screen.
  • Second Tier: Consists of three court ladies, also known as, san-nin kanjo (三人官女), representing women who attended to the Imperial couple. They are usually accompanied with tables of sweets displayed in between them.
  • Third Tier: Consists of the go-nin bayashi (五人囃子), the court musicians, or more literally, the "five musicians". These five musicians form the members of a Noh (能) theater, with the narrator identified by the fan (扇子 sensu) that he is holding on to, accompanied by three drummers and a flutist, arranged according to a specific order starting from the three types of drums on the left, the flute (笛 fue), and finally the Noh narrator on the right. 
  • Fourth Tier: Stands the dolls of the zuijin (随身), representing the Emperor’s personal bodyguards. While in certain displays these dolls may be depicted as samurai, in others, they may be depicted as government ministers, often in the forms of both an old man and a young man, armed with their weapons. In addition, other ornaments such as the rhombus-shaped rice cake known as hishi mochi (菱餅) are also placed in between the two dolls.
  • Fifth Tier: Decorated with a mandarin orange tree to the right and a peach blossom tree to the left, flanking three dolls representing the palace civil servant guards, or shicho (仕丁), with each showcasing a different facial expression. Interestingly, while these dolls are often depicted holding umbrellas and sunshades in the Kanto style displays, they are portrayed with cleaning tools in the Kansai style displays.
  • Other Tiers: When additional tiers are incorporated, they often feature typical household items from that period, including storage chests, mirrors and ox-drawn carts. In Kyoto, you’ll often find miniature kitchens and cooking utensils displayed while altars made in Tokyo might tend to have more tiers showcasing a wider array of luxurious furnishings.

 

The dairibina, representing the Emperor and the Empress, make up the centerpiece of a hinakazari.
The
dairibina, representing the Emperor and the Empress, make up the centerpiece of a hinakazari |  ©PhotoAC

While displaying the hina-ningyo on a seven-tiered dankazari (段飾り doll stand) may seem to the most luxurious method of showcasing one’s collection, most households opt for a simpler display, often showcasing just one tier, which typically includes the essential dairibina.

Due to their considerable expense, with a three-tiered collection ranging from ¥80,000 to ¥500,000 and a full seven-tiered collection costing a staggering ¥200,000 to ¥10,000,000, these dolls are often treasured as family heirlooms and passed down through generations. 

Households typically begin displaying these dolls starting from February until March 3rd. According to Japanese tradition, it is deemed inauspicious to leave the dolls up for too long as it is believed to diminish the chances of a daughter getting married. Thus, it is not uncommon for families to hastily remove these ornaments immediately after the festival is over. 


 

Traditional Foods Eaten During Hina Matsuri

Apart from the displaying of exquisite hina-ningyo, just like any other festivals, the joyous occasion is often celebrated alongside special traditional foods enjoyed exclusively during this period. Some of these which include: 

 

Hina-arare 

A delightful snack that comes in different colors, the consumption of the Hina-arare is often associated with the welcoming of spring.
A delightful snack that comes in different colors, the consumption of the Hina-arare is often associated with the welcoming of spring | ©PhotoAC

Hina-arare (雛霰) traditional sweet, pastel-colored rice cracker that comes in either three or four different colors, with those that come in threes representing different elements that symbolize the arrival of spring, and those that come in fours representing the four different seasons. Eating one of each color is a customary practice believed to bring about a healthy year ahead. 

 

Hishi Mochi

The rhomboid shape of the Hishi Mochi represents fertility and each of the three colors symbolizes an element of nature that is indicative of the refreshing beginning of spring
The rhomboid shape of the
Hishi Mochi represents fertility and each of the three colors symbolizes an element of nature that is indicative of the refreshing beginning of spring | ©photoAC

Hishi Mochi (菱餅) is a tri-coloured rhombus-shaped rice cake symbolizing fertility. The top layer is flavoured with cape jasmine, the white layer with water caltrop, and the green layer incorporating mugwort. The green layer symbolizes the fresh green leaves of the impending spring, the white representing unsullied snow, and red signifying peach flowers, all melding together to create a picturesque spring scene.

 

Sakura Mochi

Sakura mochi
Made from glutinous rice and filled with red bean paste, the
Sakura Mochi remains an all-time favorite dessert that is eaten during the spring festive season | ©PhotoAC

Sakura Mochi (桜餅) is a pink-coloured wagashi (和菓子 Japanese confectionery) made with glutinous rice that is filled with red bean paste and wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. Although the cherry blossom (桜 sakura) season only begins around April, the sakura mochi is a dessert that is deeply associated with the Hina Matsuri due to its profound image of the approaching spring.

 

Chirashi-zushi 

Chirashizushi, scattered with lotus roots, shrimps and fried eggs atop rice soaked in vinegar
The
Chirashi-zushi, scattered with lotus roots, shrimps and fried eggs atop rice soaked in vinegar, is an auspicious dish often eaten during the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC

Chirashi-zushi (ちらし寿司) is a dish created by scattering lotus roots, shrimp, and thinly shredded egg over vinegared rice, hence its name “chirashi (散らし)”, which means “to scatter”. The lotus root is said to allow one to see the future, while the shrimp symbolizes longevity. This slightly sweetened dish is often savored alongside clear clam soup (蛤潮汁 Hamaguri ushio-jiru).

 

Amazake & Shirozake

Amazake
Made from fermented glutinous rice, the amazake (甘酒) is a sweet, traditional non-alcoholic drink with a long history that is enjoyed by Japanese during festive seasons | ©PhotoAC

Accompanying these foods are typically two types of beverages made from fermented glutinous rice, namely the white sake (白酒 shirozake), which has a high alcohol percentage, and the sweet sake (甘酒 amazake), which is a non-alcoholic drink. These allow both adults and children to relish in the festive atmosphere while indulging in a delightful treat on the side. 

 

Experience Hina Matsuri in Japan!

That being said, the essence of a festival is best savoured in person. While Hina Matsuri festivals are held throughout Japan, here are two exceptional festivals granting an unforgettable experience that you shouldn’t miss out on if you find yourself in Japan during the spring season.

 

1. Kaatsura Big Hinamatsuri (かつうらビッグひな祭り)

Tomisaki Jinja's elaborate hinazakari display
This iconic festival in Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture, boasts the 1,800
hina-ningyo that are displayed on the flight of stairs leading up to Tomisaki Shrine | ©Adobe Stock

Famous for being one of Chiba’s (千葉県 Chiba-ken) most extravagant festivals, the Katsuura Big Hina Matsuri (かつうらビッグひな祭り) grandly welcomes spring every year with its thousands of hina-ningyo set up around Katsuura City (勝浦市), all donated by people from across Japan.

However, the highlight of the festival is the impressive 1,800 hina-ningyo adorning the sixty stone steps leading up to Tomisaki Shrine (遠見岬神社), creating a spectacular sight for one to behold. All 1,800 hina-ningyo are carefully displayed during the day and kept away properly at night by the residents every single day for as long as the festival runs. You can also enjoy an enchanting experience starting from the evening as the nighttime illumination begins.  

 

Tomisaki Shrine (遠見岬神社)
Event Period: 23 February–3 March 2024
Address: 1 Hama-katsuura, Katsuura City, Chiba 299-5233
Access: 10-minute walk from Katsuura Station (勝浦駅)

 

2. Hina no Tsurushi Kazari Matsuri (雛のつるし飾りまつり)

A display in Izu Inatori, Shizuoka, showcasing gorgeous hanging ornaments hung from the ceiling, surrounding the hinakazari.
A display in Izu Inatori, Shizuoka, showcasing gorgeous hanging ornaments known as tsurushikazari hung from the ceiling, surrounding the
hinakazari | ©PhotoAC

In Izu Inatori (伊豆稲取), Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県 Shizuoka-ken), there is a traditional custom with humble origins from the Edo Period that is still being practiced annually to this day.

The Hina no Tsurushi Kazari (雛のつるし飾りまつり) is a festival that brings to life this tradition of hanging ornaments, otherwise known as tsurushi kazari (つるし飾り), through the extravagant display of hina-ningyo and other decorations.

 

Tsurushi kazari is made by sewing together scraps from kimono and attaching them to long strings to create these beautiful hanging ornaments.
The hanging decorative ornaments of tsurushi kazari is made by sewing together scraps from kimono and attaching them to long strings | Photo by Sue Lynn

It was believed that tsurushi kazari came into practice during the Edo Period as hina-ningyo were simply too expensive for the typical household to afford, so mother and grandmothers made tsurushi kazari by sewing together scraps from kimono (着物 traditional Japanese garment) and attaching them to long strings to create these beautiful hanging ornaments in hopes of good luck and health for their children and grandchildren.

This year, in celebration of the festival’s 25th anniversary, there will also be an additional event which visitors can look forward to. With just an entrance fee of ¥300, you too can enjoy these beautifully crafted ornaments and immerse yourself in the mesmerising atmosphere of the festival.  

 

Inatori Culture Park Hina no Yakata (稲取文化公園 ひなの館)
Event period: 20 January–31 March 2024
Address: 1729 Inatori, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka 413-0411
Access: 14-minute walk from Izu-Inatori Station (伊豆稲取駅)

 

Nagashibina, a traditional ritual to ward off evil spirits by sending human-shaped dolls, typically made of paper or straw, down the river | ©photoAC

Visiting Japan this March? Take the chance to explore and experience one of Japan’s largest and most prominent spring festivals by trying out the festive dishes, partaking in the local celebrations of the Hina Matsuri, or even by getting yourself a hina-ningyo as a souvenir! Join the locals as they wish for a healthy and auspicious year ahead for their loved ones.

 

Souvenirs from Japan by JAPAN RAIL CLUB

Spring Beginnings Omiyage Snack Box by JAPAN RAIL CLUB

Speaking of souvenirs, JAPAN RAIL CLUB is a membership service that introduces a part of Japan each month through a subscription box full of Japanese snacks! Explore every facet of Japan’s unique culture such as Hina Matsuri with the membership’s offering of delectable treats, shipped directly to your doorstep. Find out more about this month’s box—Tasty Tohoku Treats—at JAPAN RAIL CLUB’s website today!

Meet the author

Dawn Sim

An avid lover of nature, photography, and Japanese literature, you will find Dawn (@oyakodawn) either lost in the midst of a historical pilgrimage route or in any local book cafes from the north all the way to the south of Japan. Dawn has lived in Kyoto for a year and still can’t get enough of its cultural and historical richness - not to mention the hipster cafes that serve to satisfy their coffee addiction!

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在日本眾多節慶與珍貴傳統之中,有一個特別關於自然崇敬的慶典——綠之日。這個國定假日訂於每年五月四日,見證了日本與自然的深厚連結,也提醒人們欣賞這個70%都是山區的島國上,那些美麗的綠色景觀。

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Explore During Japan's Shinryoku Season
Sue Lynn

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for nature―Midori-no-Hi (みどりの日 Greenery Day). Observed annually on 4 May, this national holiday is a testament...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for...

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
Sue Lynn

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top producer of agricultural products and seafood: the vast lands covering Japan’s second largest island and...

Wendy Ng

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top...

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of Japan
Sue Lynn

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes but even amongst these, there are three locations that rise above the others and are...

Dawn Sim Nature

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes...

Japan celebrates Golden Week between April 29 to May 5
Sue Lynn

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of Japan's most prominent and bustling holiday periods, usually spans from late April to early May...

Dawn Sim Culture

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of...

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉
Sue Lynn

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Carissa Loh Nature

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Than Sakura
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with spring than the beloved cherry blossom (桜 sakura). However, other than these pretty, pink blossoms,...

Carissa Loh Nature

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with...

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in April and May
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of a new beginning in many Japanese literature. | Photo by Dawn Sim   A symbol...

Dawn Sim Spring

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other than the mesmerising cherry blossoms painting the landscape, spring is the best season to experience...

Wendy Ng Food

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festivals in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing with it beautiful flowers, comfortable temperatures, and a time of celebration. While most travellers head...

Carissa Loh Festival

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing...

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in Japan
Sue Lynn

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich history and enduring cultural heritage, is particularly famous for its magnificent Japanese castles (お城 oshiro)....

Carissa Loh Culture

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich...

Sakura Karinto and Marui Suzuki
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions of celebrating this season is to enjoy “ohanami” (お花見)! Ohanami means “flower-viewing”, and this is...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions...

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the start of springtime in Japan. Spring is the prettiest and most enjoyable season with radiant...

Wendy Ng Spring

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the...

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of Shochu Distilleries in Miyazaki
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Considered to be Japan's national spirit, Shochu is gaining great...

Wendy Ng

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese...

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultural Icons
Sue Lynn

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition, Tohoku (東北), the northeastern part of Japan comprising of six prefectures – Aomori (青森), Akita...

Dawn Sim Culture

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition,...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you can unearth more culinary treasures spread throughout the country if you venture into the less...

Wendy Ng Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you...

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo for Ohanami
Sue Lynn

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you have witnessed the enchanting sight of cherry blossoms (桜 sakura) in full bloom. A cherry...

Carissa Loh Culture

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful...

Carissa Loh Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six...

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souvenir & Gift-Giving Culture
Sue Lynn

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably seen the colourful and beautifully packaged boxes of local confectionery filling the gift shops along...

Carissa Loh Culture

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably...

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers from Akita by Kanaeya
Sue Lynn

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as an example, a prefecture where lush landscapes meet premium rice fields. Renowned for its exceptional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as...

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)
Sue Lynn

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the...

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Sue Lynn

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known...

Dawn Sim Culture

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the...

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers
Sue Lynn

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2...

Dawn Sim Travel

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of...

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi by Kameya Foods
Sue Lynn

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the Japanese horseradish is a unique spice native to Japan and is a staple in Japanese...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the...

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan and Must-do Activities
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in regions lying alongside the Sea of Japan (日本海), otherwise known as Yukiguni (雪国), or Snow...

Dawn Sim Festival

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in...

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to Enjoy in Japan
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s also a time to indulge in winter cuisine as Japan is blessed with bountiful harvest...

Wendy Ng Food

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s...

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and Setsubun Culture
Sue Lynn

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo on its east, perhaps, unknowingly, you have already stepped foot into Chiba Prefecture. If you...

Carissa Loh Culture

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo...

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gems in Every Corner of Chiba
Sue Lynn

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than the prefecture of Chiba (千葉県). Contrary to the popular belief that “There is nothing much...

Dawn Sim Travel

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than...