Sandawara floating dolls iwatsuki

Information for the Floating dolls of Iwatsuki in 2024.

One truly enchanting event to mark the annual Dolls festival is the floating dolls of Iwatsuki. Paper dolls are floated on a pond in the doll town Iwatsuki to mark the Dolls Festival, which is also girls day. The dolls are floated to pray for the good health of children. 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

A red bridge reflected in the water at Iwatsuki Castle park, from where the floating dolls are floated annually
March 3rd 2023, no filter, no edit.

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 in Iwatsuki Castle Park. The pond has a beautiful red bridge over it, as you can see in the photo above, which was taken on March 3rd last year.

The festival is on the Sunday before the dolls festival, so sometimes it falls in February. As was the case last year. But this year it will be on the dolls festival itself as it falls on a Sunday. The festival is on between 10 am and 2 pm at Iwatsuki Castle Park. They usually float the dolls from 11 am. They haven’t confirmed the price for 2024 yet, but normally it costs 600 yen for one “sandawara” doll.

There is another magical event on in Iwatsuki on the same day:

Information

Event: Floating Hina Dolls 流しびな

Date: Sunday March 3rd 2024

Time: 10 am to 2 pm

Cost: 600 yen per “Sandawara” doll

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

Access

The park is 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.

Official event page, which also doesn’t have the price for 2024, but it does have some beautiful photos of the event!

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

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