February to early March is when we begin to see the decorations of hina dolls all over Japan: It is when we celebrate the girls on hinamatsuri, the Hina Festival, on March 3.
Kakunodate Town, a town known for its rustic historical scenery, is also dubbed as Little Kyoto of Tohoku. Here, you can recollects the memories from the Samurai era with the houses and items that has been passed down over generations.
From February 18 to March 20, many shops in town display their family-owned hina dolls and make them available for public viewing; meanwhile, they offer you special discounts and festival-themed souvenirs available only during this time.
Finding your favorite dolls when playing it by ear is thrilling! But, if your time is limited as a traveler, you might want to consider singing-up for a hina doll tour guided by a local person who knows the best places to stop by – so here it is:
This guided walking tour takes you to different locations in Kakunodate Town. Starting from Katsuragi (a gallery), you will be guided to several main spots in town. The tour is only 1,000 Yen (Course A: 1,000 Yen) or with lunch (Course B: 3,500 Yen). You will be given a little souvenir :) Sign up in a group of more than 2 people and 2 days ahead.
You can also have more extended experience taking a local train decorated for the festival.
“Stamp Rally” will be held during the campaign. What is it? With a sheet with some blank spaces, you will visit different places in town and have it stamped. When it reaches 10 stamps, you can exchange it with a present at Katsuragi. At the stamping locations, you will receive special discounts and services. The places are shown in the tables in the map below.
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Other guided activities in town? Try Kakunodate Winter Storytelling at the Iwahashi Residence.