Tokyo: The Gajoen Hinamatsuri Doll Festival (百段雛祭り) - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tokyo: The Gajoen Hinamatsuri Doll Festival (百段雛祭り)

Above: Inside the Gajoen. Photo from the official event page
The Meguro Gajoen is one of Tokyo's best-hidden gems, and one of the few sightseeing spots I wouldn't mind revisiting multiple times. Not only does the Gajoen offer one of Tokyo's best-rated hotels, inside the former wedding complex you also find the historical hundred-stairs staircase that helped inspire part of the architecture in the Ghibli movie "Spirited Away". Although much of the Gajoen was rebuilt after the Second World War the old wing still remains in its former glory and is used throughout the year for special exhibitions. This time we went to see the special Hina Matsuri (ひな祭り) doll festival exhibition that is held at the Gajoen from mid-January to mid-March.
Above: Inside the Gajoen 
The Hina Matsuri doll festival is a yearly event held in Japan on the 3rd of March to celebrate and pray for the health and happiness of girls. It is common that a collection of dolls is displayed in both private homes and public buildings, often set up in a multi-tiered doll stand called hinadan (雛壇). The Hina Matsuri tradition is celebrated all over Japan, but the features and details of the practice vary from area to area. In the Gajoen they have collected Hina dolls from various places in Japan, giving visitors a chance to see and compare dolls from different Japanese prefectures.

Above: The doll exhibition outside the elevator going to the old wing.
The old wing of the Gajoen is separated from the newer areas of the complex, with the entrance to your left-hand side when you enter through the main gate. In order to get in, you'll have to purchase an exhibition ticket, usually at the price of 1,500 yen/person. Once you've passed the ticket check you'll have to take an elevator up to a separate entrance to the old wing.
Above: Inside the Hundred Step Staircase (百段階段)
The Stairway of 100 steps, Hyakudan Kaidan (百段階段) takes you up to 7 gorgeously decorated halls, and just the sight of these halls makes the visit worth it in itself. The halls are covered in extravagant paintings from floor to ceiling, and each of the paintings has delicate depictions of traditional Japanese motives such as flowers and birds. 
Above: Details of the ceiling in one of the rooms.
Above: Various masks on display inside one of the halls.
Above: An example of a how the dolls were made
Above: The main doll display
Most of the halls forbid taking photos, so it is limited what I can show of the inside of the Gajoen. But if you find yourself in Tokyo looking for places to visit this would definitely be one of my most recommended places to go. 

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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