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  • 執筆者の写真Mariko Oku

京のお雛様と日本の昔遊び Kyoto style Hina Dolls and Japanese traditional games.


Inside the machiya( traditional town house) of Tondaya in Nishijin, Kyoto, there were many colorful and lustrous hina dolls lined up in a row.


Hinamatsuri, or Dolls Festival, falls on April 14 this year based on the lunar calendar


In Kyoto, people live by the lunar calendar, so the hina dolls decorations are still on display.


The male Hina doll of the emperor wears the ceremonial robe with a prestigious color called Kouro, or raddish yellow, which only the emperor is allowed to wear.


It is said that it was from Empress Michiko that the hairstyle of the female dolls was changed to "osuberakashi," which means "big hanging hair," with the hair sticking out to the side, while the female dolls until then had "suihatsu," or long down hair , which you can commonly see in the Tale of Genji.


At Tondaya, they exhibit Hina dolls of various historical backgrounds, so you can compare both the two different versions of Hina dolls hairstyle.


This is a set of dolls of common people, who conveys the emotions of the citizens, such as anger, sadness, and laughter.


There is a rare court lady dolls who is pulling a dog. Dogs give birth to many puppies, so this doll is a symbol of safe delivery.

おひなまつりの昔遊びも体験させて頂きました。 We also had the chance to experience some of the old games of the Hina Dolls Festival.


Tousenkyo is a game played in the Edo period (1603-1868). A fan is thrown at a target in the shape of a ginkgo called a butterfly, which is set up on a rectangular box stand.


It looks easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult to throw a fan if your hand is too strong or not snapping properly.



I managed to hit the target and the result was

"Hanachiru sato, or Village of Scattered Flowers ( 1 point!)”


The score chart corresponding to the 54 chapters of The Tale of Genji is very elegant.


The next old game was an elegant shell game. In the game you try to match a pair of clams from among the shells randomly laid out on the floor.


Since clam shells can only be matched with a pair of clam shells, it symbolizes harmony between husband and wife, and was one of the congratulatory tools for brides when she got married.


The inside of the clam shells are decorated with designs from the Tale of Genji using a go;d lacquerwork technique. The clam shells with convex joints are called as the "yang" male clam shells, and the clam shells with concave joints are called as the "yin" female clam shells, and you try to match the pairs of yin and yang shells.


It's like a matching card game, but each pair of shells does not have the same pattern, so you need to know the background of the story to understand that they are the same.



I was able to enjoy an elegant time like a Heian aristocrat.

If you have a chance, please try this ancient game in Japan that will make your heart fully settled.



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