Girls' festival doll display lures visitors west of Tokyo

Traditional Japanese dolls flanked by tens of thousands of small hanging decorations are drawing visitors to a hot spring area west of Tokyo.

The "Hina" dolls display is at the center of the March 3 Girls' Festival in which Japanese pray for the health and fortune of girls. The miniature figures are dressed as court nobles seated on a tiered platform.

The version on display in Shizuoka Prefecture's Higashi-Izu town is unique in that it has about 20,000 good luck charms hanging on strings down both sides of the platform.

The exhibit includes 34 types of dolls and charms, each with a meaning. A crawling baby is linked to praying for child's healthy growth, while a bag of rice with mice is said to connect with financial fortune.

This version of the Hina Matsuri doll tradition is said to date back to the latter part of the Edo Period in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A couple visiting the venue said they were impressed by how the decorations were sewn one stitch at a time.

The exhibition also features a massive 17-tiered display of 151 Hina dolls. Visitors can enjoy the displays at the Cultural Park Hina-no-Yakata and three other venues until the end of March.