Nagashibina at Shimogamo-Shrine

March 3rd is a special day for girls in Japan. It’s a day when girls get to celebrate, well, being a ‘girl’. This special day is called ‘Hinamatsuri’ and is a day to pray for a young girl’s happiness and growth. Households with girls, usually display Hina Ningyo (Hina dolls) inside their houses.
Shimogamo Shrine sits between the Kamo river and the Takano river in the Sakyo ward. It is a World Heritage site and an important shinto shrine in the Shimogamo district.
To celebrate this glorious day, temples and shrines hold special ceremonies throughout Japan. At Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto, a ceremony called Nagashi Bina is held. Nagashi Bina is a special ceremony where a couple dressed in ancient Heian period style clothing, put Hina dolls into the sacred water that flows through the Shimogamo Shrine. Afterwards, children and adults also put their Hina dolls into the sacred water. By doing so, it is believed that it will protect children from evil spirits, and serve as prayers for good health and happiness.

The Kimono she is wearing is called Juni-hitoe. How heavy do you think this is? Despite having many layers on, she moved with grace. That's something I would certainly have trouble with.

The event is said to have started in the Heian period

The couple is dressed like 'Hina dolls'. The woman is called Ohina-sama (Empress) and the man is called Odairi-sama (Emperor)

The priests performed a blessing during the ceremony

The ceremony involves the couple laying the Hina Dolls in the water and letting them float down the river.

By letting the Hina dolls float away, it's believed that they protect children from evil and pray for their safety and health

Many of the ceremonies held at the Shimogamo Shrine are related to water

Beautiful ume (plum) blossoms popped their little pink heads out, just before the Sakura (cherry blossoms) season started.

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