Iwatsuki Dolls Festival – Iwatsuki is a very famous “Hina”, traditional Japanese doll, town often referred to as the “city of dolls”. Iwatsuki have been making dolls since the 17th century. Moreover, Iwatsuki Doll making was awarded the prestigious Traditional Craft Production designation by both the prefecture and the country.
Until 2020 the city has two doll museums; Togyoku Doll Museum and Tokyu Doll Museum. But since 2020 the city also has the Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum, which is now the principal dolls museum in Iwatsuki city. You can actually watch dolls being made in the Togyoku Doll Museum. The service was temporarily suspended during the pandemic, but sometime since April 2022 they opened it back up to the public. They have a full English website with details here.
The Iwatsuki Dolls Festival in 2023
The doll festival was actually on in 2022 too, but it was very different to normal and mainly consisted of exhibitions. In 2023, it is more like a pre-pandemic year, with lots of special events planned. For the period of the festival, from Thursday February 23rd to Sunday March 12th, you can view dolls in approximately 70 participating facilities around Iwatsuki. Most of which are concentrated around the East exit of Iwatsuki Station.
In addition, there are several special exhibitions. For example, hanging decorations in select locations. Moreover, there are two very special displays on select dates only, at Atago Shrine and the Iwatsuki Campus of the University of Human Arts and Sciences. See the next paragraph “Additional Events” for dates.
Throughout the period of the dolls festival they have several events including stamp rallies and you can also take a tour of the various doll attractions with a guide. Also, during the period of the festival the Hisaizu “the Quiz” Shrine sell an original limited edition prayer plaque. Dates below:
A selection of the dozens of additional events on during the festival:
The opening ceremony is scheduled for public holiday Thursday February 23rd. This year they will also have the main Hina Festival on the same day. I am delighted to announce that they will have the Ohina-sama parade, for the first time in four years. In addition, there will be traditional music such as taiko drum performances. There will also be dance including traditional Yosakoi dance. It is on around the Crescent mall near the east exit of Iwatsuki Station.
Atago Shrine will have their outdoor stair Hina exhibition, weather permitting, on February 23rd, 25th, 26th and from March 3rd to 5th. These are also the same dates that you can pick up a limited edition dolls prayer plaque at Hisaizu Shrine.
On February 25th and 26th the Iwatsuki Campus of the University of Human Arts and Sciences also have a hina exhibition on an outdoor staircase.
On the 26th (of February), as a special commemorative event for the 20th anniversary of the festival, they will have a cosplay event. There is also a Hina-sama painting opportunity. In addition, the popular floating dolls event is also scheduled:
From March 3rd to 5th you can see hanging hina decorations at the Watsu Nishikan near the station. On March 4th, children can dress up as hina dolls at the Iwatsuki Ningyo Museum.
On Sunday March 5th they plan to hold a Hina Dolls market at the Crescent mall at the east exit of Iwatsuki station from 10 am. Apart from Hina Dolls, they all sell items related to the dolls festival. Also, there will be a selection of Iwatsuki city produce on sale.
Event: Iwatsuki Dolls Festival or officially Iwatsuki Town Around Town Doll Tour 人形のまち岩槻 まちかど雛めぐり
Date: Public Holiday Thursday February 23rd to Sunday March 12th 2023
Time: varies greatly by day / activity, by and large – office hours
Cost: free to view dolls and the opening ceremony and Hina Festival. Workshops may incur costs.
Venue: The Iwatsuki Dolls Festival is in the general area of the east exit of the Iwatsuki station (Tobu Urban Park Line). Map at the bottom of the post.
The Iwatsuki Dolls Festival is in the general area of the east exit of the Iwatsuki station (Tobu Urban Park Line). It is easiest to come by public transport. There is some coin parking lots in the area if you come by car.
sounds like a different/interesting festival
I went to see the hina dolls on the staircase of Atago Shrine – it was pretty impressive!