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13 February 2024 - 3 March 2024

10:00AM - 5:00PM

Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill, Durham, DH1 3TH

  • It is FREE to visit the Oriental Museum and this exhibition

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Enjoy our display of traditional Japanese dolls

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Our full set of traditional dolls

Hina Matsuri, also called Girl’s Day or Doll’s Day in English, is a traditional Japanese festival held each year on 3rd March to wish health and happiness to young girls. As part of the festivities displays of ornamental dolls are set up.  

The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian Period (794-1185 CE) and the dolls are still created wearing court costume of this time. The dolls represent the Emperor and Empress together with their attendants, musicians and ministers. The lower platforms also hold a number of pieces of furniture and even a carriage.  A full set of dolls is displayed across seven levels.  

Today most people don't have room for a full set of dolls in their house.  Many Japanese households have a small set containing just the Emperor and Empress.  

In 2013 a local Japanese family donated this wonderful set to the Oriental Museum.  It is back on display this year for the first time since 2019 but on 4th March it will be put away until next year to avoid bad luck so you have only a limited time to see this amazing display.  

Join us on 2nd March for special family activities to celebrate the festival.  




It is FREE to visit the Oriental Museum and this exhibition