Chiba festival features boat procession with human 'Hina' dolls

About 60 people dressed in colorful "Hina" doll costumes rode in a boat procession in Katori City, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo on Sunday.

People across the country display "Hina" dolls and pray that girls grow up healthy during the Girls' Festival, which falls on March 3 every year. The dolls are dressed as court nobles and seated on red-carpeted step altars.

Participants rode five boats on the Onogawa River running through the city's central Sawara district, which retains a streetscape that dates back to the Edo period between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Spectators along the river enjoyed watching the scenes while listening to court music performed by local musicians in one of the boats.

A woman from Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, said she came to see the festival for the second time, and that the colorful scene makes her feel spring has come.

A girl who took part in the festival with her parents said she enjoyed being a princess.