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三月〈弥生〉March / Yayoi





Hinamatsuri is the Girl’s Festival. Also known as Joshi No Sekku, it appears to have taken an interesting route from its origin as an ancient Chinese purification rite. There is a custom followed throughout Japan at this time, Nagashi-bina, involving floating small Hina dolls, which take the form of idealized princesses, on a body of water. It’s said to interpret the scene of ancient Chinese devotees bathing themselves in a sacred river to drive evil spirits from their lives. The princesses of the royal court during Japan’s Heian Era, about a millennium ago, prettified the picture by employing stylized dolls in their place, and the Hinamatsuri was born. It originated in Kyoto’s Shimogamo Shrine where, right on temple property, is a small inlet of the waters flowing beneath Kyoto. Considered to be consecrated, it is referred to as the Mitarashigawa. The settings of unearthly beauty and exquisite accessories that today represent the observance of this peach-blossom festooned festival began around the turn of the 17th century.

The fare served during contemporary Hinamatsuri celebrations is bara-sushi. Unlike typical sushi, raw fish is replaced with dried, along with kampyo (dried gourd), shiitake, koya-tofu (which has been somewhat “freeze-dried”, giving it a special, spongy texture that let’s it absorb the flavors of the spices it’s seasoned with). These ingredients are topped with thin strips of nori seaweed, and small strips of egg omelet and pickled ginger.


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