Hinamatsuri 2023 at Keio Plaza Hotel

Keio Plaza Hotel Shinjuku Hinamatsuri 2017 lobby display

Japan’s doll festival, also known as Hinamatsuri or Girls’ Day, is celebrated on March 3rd. It is the perfect opportunity to photograph the beauty of Japanese culture. Once again, I went to the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku to see it.

Rabbit in kimono girl's day doll

What is Hinamatsuri?

The festival is especially popular with families. They pray for their daughters’ healthy growth, prosperity, and happiness. It is especially popular for girls ten or younger.

It’s quite simple. Hina dolls are placed on a tiered platform. They wear traditional Japanese clothing. The figures are the emperor, empress, and other members of the Heian period imperial court. Miniature furniture and other accessories are also included.

hinamatsuri orange goldfish

Why is Hinamatsuri good for photographers?

For photography, the Hina dolls are excellent subjects for stunning and artistic images. You can experiment with various angles, lighting, and composition.  That will showcase the details of the dolls and the beauty of the display.

Hinamatsuri emperor and empress

In addition, the festival atmosphere provides ample opportunities for candid shots.  Tokyo has events attended by families and children dressed in kimonos.  Well, that didn’t happen for me at Keio Plaza Hotel, but it happens at other places.

green seahorse

Hinamatsuri 2023 at Keio Plaza Hotel

The Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku puts on a great doll display every year.  And 2023, was no exception.  The photos hopefully give you some idea.  But I had one complaint.

hakama dog

Usually, the emperor and empress are clearly visible in the display.  Nothing blocks the view.  This year, it was different.  They had many dolls in front of them!  That meant you couldn’t directly photograph the two main characters! And from the front, many shadows were on them, destroying the chance for any photo from that angle. I had to settle for a side shot.

hinamatsuri doll wall

I had to wiggle my camera around to see them.  How I wish I had taken a long zoom with me.  But using that in a hotel might have seemed ridiculous to onlookers!

Anyway, please leave your questions and comments below.  And if you have been to the hotel during the festival, tell me about it.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

goat in kimono

For more Hinamatsuri articles, look at:

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