Big Hinamatsuri (Big Doll Festival) (ビッグひな祭り)
Big Hinamatsuri is a Hinamatsuri (Doll's Festival) held in Katsuura-cho, Tokushima Prefecture (former Awa Province), Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture (former Kazusa Province), and Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture (former Shinano Province) during February and March (during March and April in Suzaka City) every year. It originated in Katsuura-cho, Tokushima Prefecture, but later it came to be held also in Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture and Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture, as secondary to the original festival. During the period of the festival, an enormous hinadan (a tiered platform carpeted in red for traditional dolls) is decked with numerous hina dolls (traditional dolls).
It started in Katsuura-cho, Tokushima Prefecture.
It started in Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture.
It started in Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture.
The festival is held for about one month by the Big Doll Festival Execution Committee and a specified nonprofit corporation called Awa Katsuura Idobata Juku at Ningyo Bunka Koryu Kaikan (Doll Cultural Exchange Hall) in Ikuna, Katsuura-cho.
More than 20,000 hina dolls are displayed at the site, with a special feature of an enormous hinadan which is approximately seven meters high. The hina dolls have been received from all over Japan, and 5,000 yen (currency) is required as a memorial service for beloved but now unwanted old hina dolls.
Via public transportation
Approximately one hour (there is a bus stop near the site) from Tokushima Station, Shikoku Railway Company (JR Shikoku), via Tokushima Bus (Katsuura Route)
Via private car
Approximately 30 km (there is a parking area near the site) from Naruto Interchange via Tokushima-Kaminaka Route using National Route 11, National Route 55, and Tokushima Prefectural Road 16
It is held for about two weeks by the Big Doll Festival Execution Committee in various places in Katsuura City. A total of more than 30,000 hina dolls are displayed, including 7,000 dolls that were donated by Katsuura-cho, Tokushima Prefecture.
Hinadan is set up in various stores in community facilities and local shopping areas such as city hall and Katsuura Station of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) during the period; approximately 1,200 hina dolls are displayed on the 60 stone steps of sando (an approach) of Tomisaki-jinja Shrine. Furthermore, in addition to the packaged tours which are arranged annually, other attractions such as an extra express train called 'Katsuura Hinamatsuri Go' being run on Saturdays and Sundays attract large crowds.
In Katsuura Shopping Street, streets become pedestrian paradise and a parade is held, and events which take place include 'Katsuura Hinamatsuri Hiking' organized by JR East on the last Saturday and Sunday during the period.
Via public transportation
Ten-minute walk to the main site (hinadan can also be found en route to the main site) from Katsuura Station, JR Sotobo Line.
Via private car
From the direction of Yokohama:
Tokyo Bay Aqua Line - Tateyama Expressway, Kisarazu-Kita Interchange - National Route 409 - National Route 297 - National Route 128 - Moriya Beach Parking Area (there is a guidance sign)
From the direction of Tokyo and Chiba:
Tateyama Expressway, Ichihara Interchange - National Route 297 - National Route 128 - Moriya Beach Parking Area (there is a guidance sign)
* There is a shuttle bus from the parking area to the main site.
Suzaka City, Nagano Prefecture
The festival is held for approximately one month (from March 3 until April 3) in various places in Suzaka City by the 'Execution Committee for Doll Festival in Suzuka Town.'
The town of Suzaka City still has the scenery reminiscent of the old days, and it has hina dolls that have been treasured and passed down through the ages; the festival began with the intent to show the hina dolls to many people. Over the festival period, hina dolls are displayed in a hundred and several tens of shops, and in galleries and museums, and pink, vertically long banners serve as a landmark.
Various hina dolls throughout the ages are displayed, such as Kyoho-bina, which has a historical air, a tiered-display of hina dolls of plant dyeing, Mayu-bina (made by painting a cocoon to make it look like a hina doll), Tsuchi-bina (ceramic hina dolls), a five-tier display of wooden hina dolls with Japanese costumes made from cloth with the edges tucked into grooves in the wood, and a tiered-display of successive hina dolls from the Keio era until the Heisei period. For example, 'Dolls' Festival with Thousand Hina Dolls on Thirty Tiers' (January 31 - April 7, World Folk Doll Museum) and 'Tanaka Honke Museum Feast of Hina Doll' are must-sees.
Events called 'Burari Kitashinano Hina Tour' and 'Wedding with Juni-Hitoe (twelve-layered ceremonial kimono)' are also conducted in cooperation with municipalities in northern Shinano Province. For the bride and groom in the 'Wedding with Juni-Hitoe,' a pair is chosen from couples applying from all over Japan. As Suzaka City is known for walking, events such as 'JR East Hiking from the Station' and 'Shinshu Suzaka: A Two-Day Walk in the City of Silk and Traditional-Style Storehouses' are organized by sponsors.