Sandawara floating dolls iwatsuki

Information for the Floating dolls of Iwatsuki in 2023.

One truly enchanting event to mark the annual Dolls festival is the floating dolls of Iwatsuki event. Paper dolls are floated on a pond in the doll town Iwatsuki to mark the Dolls Festival, which is also girls day. The dolls festival is celebrated every year on the 3rd of March in homes where there are girls. People display their Hina dolls leading up to the festival. But they take them down promptly after March 3rd, as an old wives’ tale predicts the longer you leave your dolls up the longer it will take your daughter to get married!

Floating Dolls Iwatsuki

Iwatsuki, Saitama City, is famous for its Hina dolls and is a recognised Hina doll production and historic area. The floating dolls event is just one part of the larger Iwatsuki Doll’s Festival. They have a lot of special events leading up to the dolls festival. Including this magical ceremony where people can float “sandawara” dolls on the pond.

They cancelled the festival in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, but it actually went ahead last year, 2022. However, it was on a smaller scale than usual and with a few changes to the usual line up. In 2023, it won’t be quite back to pre-pandemic either, and they are keeping the information low key. But they have set the date for the popular floating dolls event for Sunday February 26th, between 10 am and 2 pm in Iwatsuki Castle Park. They usually float the dolls from 11 am. One paper doll costs 600 yen.

Check out what else is going on in Iwatsuki for the Dolls Festival that day.


Event: Floating Hina Dolls 流しびな

Date: Sunday February 26th

Time: 10 am to 2 pm

Cost: 600 yen per doll

Venue: Iwatsuki Castle park, 3 Chome-1-1 Ota, Iwatsuki Ward, Saitama, 339-0052. View on Google Maps.


About a 23 minute walk from Iwatsuki Station which is on the Tobu Urban Park Line (Noda Line). By car, its about a ten minute drive from the Iwatsuki Interchange of the Tohoku Expressway. There is free parking for about 300 cars.

More information in Japanese, but as of January 24th 2023, STIB have not yet updated the page for 2023. You can see the official 2023 flyer here.

FYI: A new dolls museum opened in Iwatsuki during the pandemic; check out the details here. 


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