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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] 1000 Years of Beautiful Hina Dolls at Special Tokyo Exhibition

The exhibition at Hotel Gajoen showcases seven rooms presenting hundreds of hina dolls from different eras and themes, alongside traditional and modern art.



The "Gyosho Room" finished with pure gold leaf, showcasing around 800 dolls from Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture. Meguro-ku, Tokyo. (©Sankei by Miho Suzuki)

Experience "1,000 Years of Hina Dolls: Wishful Thoughts Passed Down from the Heian Period to the Present Day" currently at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo in Meguro-ku until March 10.

The exhibition unfolds in seven rooms along the historical "Hyakudan Kaidan" ("Staircase of One Hundred Steps"), recognized as a tangible cultural asset by the Tokyo government. Originally part of the hotel's predecessor Meguro Gajoen, built in 1935, the Hyakudan Kaidan remains the only surviving structure after the old Gajoen's renovation in 1988.

There are seven rooms along the Hyakudan Kaidan, a historical staircase with 99 steps. (©Sankei by Miho Suzuki)

Seven Rooms

The "Jippo Room" pays homage to artist Araki Jippo, showcasing the beauty of the seasons through his depictions of flowers and birds on 23 mirrored plates integrated into sliding doors. They are embellished with black lacquer details, exuding grandeur. Additionally, various types of hina dolls, including dolls from the Edo and Taisho period, grace the exhibit.

The opulent "Gyosho Room" is bedecked with pure gold leaf, gold paint, and gold dust, inviting visitors into a world of elegance. Approximately 800 dolls from Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture depict scenes from The Tale of Genji. It feels as though they could come to life at any moment.

The "Gyosho Room" (©Sankei by Miho Suzuki)

The "Sokyu Room," adorned with paintings of seasonal flowers and fauna, alongside hanging decorations and dolls from Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, is a breathtaking expression of the charm of the seasons and folklore.

In the "Seisui Room," visitors are transported into a world of hina dolls crafted by the artist Touko from Shiga Prefecture. The room is themed to evoke the clear waters of Lake Biwa.

The "Seiko Room" showcases Seiko Itakura's depiction of the four seasons on its ceiling and transoms. Additionally, over 2,000 items are on display, including miniature hina doll accessories, making visitors feel as though they have stepped into a hina-doll palace.

The elegant "Kiyokata Room," adorned with a painting of "beautiful women of the four seasons" by Kiyokata Kaburaki, also features unique artworks by 10 artists themed around cats. The display incorporates playful touches, such as replacing hina doll accessories with feline items.

The "Seisui Room" (©Sankei by Miho Suzuki)

Despite its name, the Hyakudan Kaidan (staircase of 100 steps) actually has 99 steps. It is believed that a step was omitted because odd numbers were considered auspicious.

The exhibition is open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, with the last entry at 5:30 pm). Admission is ¥1600 JPY (around $11 USD) for adults and ¥800 JPY ($5 USD) for elementary and junior high school students. Please check the website for details.



(This is an excerpt from a Japanese article.)

Author: Miho Suzuki

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