Celebrate Girl’s day with the girls in your family by displaying traditional Japanese dolls, eating good food, and a watching a good movie!

Girl’s Day Custom

Girl’s Day or Doll’s Day (Hina-matsuri) in Japan is held each March 3 and is a special day to celebrate the happiness and healthy development of young girls. Families and their young daughters celebrate this day by displaying dolls and offer them rice crackers and other food.

Hina Dolls

Hina-ningyo, dolls representing the emperor, empress, attendants, and musicians in imperial dress of the Heian period, are placed on usually 5 or 7 tiered platforms covered in red felt. The emperor and empress sit on the top tier with a gold folded screen behind them. Occupying the second tier are three court ladies, followed by 5 male musicians, then 2 ministers, and 3 servants making up the bottom row of a 5 tiered display.


This celebration on March 3 began during the Eian period. In that period, straw hina dolls were made to hold troubles or bad spirits, then placed on a boat and sent out on rivers to the sea, discarding those negativities. Families usually display the dolls in February and usually take them down right after the festival since they believe leaving it out after March 4 will result in a late marriage for their daughter.


Crackers such as “hina-arare”, flavored with sugar or soy sauce and “hishimochi”, a diamond-shaped colored thinly sliced rice cake, and “chirashi-sushi”, scattered and assorted sushi,  are commonly served. Hina-arare are colored red (or pink) for chasing evil spirits away, white for purity, and green for health. Another dish served that goes well with the chirashi-sushi is the clam soup. The clam signifies a perfect pair, symbolizing harmony between a couple. These dishes are usually served with “shirozake”, a sake made from fermented rice, or “amazake”, a rice wine without alcohol for kids.

Simple Recipe for Chirashi-zushi (scattered & assorted sushi)

Photo by Leon Brocard


Large package of mixed sashimi or select your favorite sushi

-1 batch of sushi rice
-*Sweet Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelette)
-Salmon roe or flying fish eggs
-Wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger

*Alternative: 1-2 scrambled eggs in thin layer, cut in rectangles


Fill a bowl with sushi rice and let it cool down
Add slices of sashimi, egg, salmon roe on top
Place wasabi, soy sauce, ginger on top

Hina-matsuri Song

“Let’s light the paper shaded lamps
Let’s give flowers, peach flowers,
Five musicians with flute and taiko,
Today is the very, merry Hina Matsuri”
Lyrics translated by Ohayoo Sensei

You can click on the links below to listen to the songs.
Japanese version
Japanese with English subtitles

Family movie time –  “Our Little Sister”

This heartwarming Japanese movie brings to life the story and relationship between three sisters who live in their grandmother’s home, and their half sister who comes to live with them. The sisters in this movie reflect a traditional Japanese way of life which tend to raise kids to be kind, sensitive, and responsible. They represent a wonderful example of the strong, loving bonds Japanese families share. This movie also gives a glimpse of  the important role of buddhist spirituality in the Japanese culture.


“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing” – Eva Burrows


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