Makabe’s Hina Matsuri
The Hina Matsuri, or Doll’s Day, is one of the iconic festivals celebrated all over Japan. Tracing its origins to the Heian Period, this winter festival is all about the ornament dolls usually made by the locals where the red tiered stands are displayed. Although the Hina Matsuri is not unique to Ibaraki Prefecture, in the city of Sakuragawa and around the Makabe District, the festivities held from early February to early March take a unique form as the visitors navigate through historic buildings, along the decorated streets, and even into a hidden shrine, while enjoying the generous hospitality of the locals who are all smiles as they bring out their precious dolls.
Once in Makabe, you can roam freely and check out the exhibits at random, but we recommend you pick up a festival map at the tourist information centre around the parking lots set out for the event. All the participating locations are marked with a numbered sign making it easy to navigate and pick and choose the exhibits more attractive to you. If you would rather let the town surprise you, then stroll along the streets, and while you’re at it take in the beauty of the historic houses that make this town famous. For the duration of the Hina Matsuri, and more so during the weekends, a wide selection of Japanese snacks are sold on the side of the streets, and this is another major aspect of the festivities.
So what should you look out for while walking around Makabe? If you are short on time we have a shortlist of locations that are sure to impress. The Hoshino Family Home located near the start of the course has a minimalistic and original take on the Hina Dolls which match the decor of the house to the tee.
Around the corner from the Hoshino Residence is Kawashima Clothing store which during the festival, is frequently visited for its traditional storehouse where along with the traditional tiered display, another set of dolls adorns the old wooden staircase of the building. As you leave the store, you can pick up the grilled mochi or the dango skewers sold by the friendly locals.
To cover the best exhibits at Makabe’s Hina Matsuri you’ll need a few hours, which means you will be looking for a decent bite to eat during the tour. For the occasion we highly recommend you head to Iseya Ryokan, again, another one of the historic buildings in town. But besides the building’s beauty, at Iseya you will be treated to the Yayoi No Kaze. Nevermind the translation, this dish, which is only served during the festival, is a healthy mix of Japanese cuisine that not only tastes great but is as beautiful as the Hina Dolls on display.
If you want to add a bit of shopping to the festival experience, make sure to check out the Murai Sake Brewery. Here, besides the brewery’s dry sake, made with water from Mt. Tsukuba, you’ll find several artisans who combine their handmade crafts with their love for the beautiful Hina Dolls.
- Facility Name
- Iseya Ryokan
- Ibaraki Pref. Sakuragawashi Makabechoumakabe 193
- Information Sources:
- NTT DIRECTORY SERVICES