Japan's Hina Matsuri Festival

Japan's Hina Matsuri Festival lesson plan

Celebrate Hina Matsuri Day along with Japanese girls on March 3. This elaborate, traditional doll display will captivate imaginations!

  • 1.

    In Japan March 3rd is Girls' Day, Hina Matsuri. <i>Hina</i> means small doll and <i>Matsuri</i> means festival in Japanese. It is a holiday that celebrates traditional female values.

  • 2.

    On this day, girls display their special doll collections. These miniature dolls are elaborately dressed, decorative figures. They are exhibited on red cloth in tiered boxes or on a staircase. The dolls are replicas of the ancient Heian royal court in Kyoto. The emperor and empress sit at the top of the tiers with dolls on each level below representing members of their court.

  • 3.

    Often these ceremonial dolls are passed down from mother to daughter. On Hina Matsuri Day, girls dress in kimonos and visit friends' doll displays. They drink tea and eat pink rice cakes wrapped in leaves. Find photographs of these displays, as well as traditional kimonos and hairstyles to use as a reference.

  • 4.

    To make your Hina-Ningyo display, glue at least three recycled boxes on top of one another with Crayola® School Glue to form steps. The open sides of the boxes face out. If the boxes have decorative sides, such as tissue boxes, let them show, or decorate plain boxes with Crayola Markers. Leave room on each level for dolls. Dry.

  • 5.

    With Crayola Scissors, cut a strip of red cloth to run down the center of the tiered display, covering the box openings with fabric. Glue to boxes. Dry.

  • 6.

    Create one doll for each box in your display. Shape doll heads, neck, and bodies with white Crayola Model Magic. Add facial features and hair in traditional styles with Crayola Fine Tip Markers or bits of Model Magic. Make separate arms with hands using t

  • 7.

    Cut kimonos from recycled file folders, using the fold line for the shoulders. Cut Vs in the kimonos for dolls' heads to go through. Clothing will hang like a poncho. Look at pictures of traditional clothing and dolls for fabric ideas. Decorate kimonos wi

  • 8.

    Put kimonos over dolls' heads. Glue arms with hands into kimonos. Place dressed dolls on tiered display. Secure with glue.


  • Students research the traditional Japanese holiday of Hina Matsuri, Girls' Day.
  • Children find information about, and pictures of, traditional Japanese kimonos and hair styles.
  • Students use problem-solving skills to create a complex, mixed-media display of decorative dolls.


  • The Hina Matsuri holiday is also called Peach Day. Peach blossoms are associated with young girls in Japan. Research what the flowers of peach trees look like. Why do you think they are connected with young girls? From tissue paper, make peach blossoms to
  • The Shintoists (a nature-focused religion practiced in Japan) have Nagashi-Bina on this day. Decorative dolls are gathered together and put in boats. The boats are cast out to sea and with them, ill fortune is carried away. In what other countries are the
  • Explore Boys' Day or Children's Day in Japan and Korea on May 5. What things are similar and what differs from Girls' Day?