Mar. 09, 2016 UPDATE
Editor's Report
Staff of experience report

My first experience of joining “Nagashi bina festival” in Shimogamo Shrine

Main Photo
Mika Mika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
Shimogamo shrine doll festival is held every year on March 3rd and “Nagashi bina (flowing dolls)” is one of the highlight events in this shrine. Hina Matsuri (Doll festival) is one of the traditional Japanese celebrations to pray for young girls’ growth and happiness. In this event, dolls are put on the straw and flowed into the Mitarashi River which is the famous river in Shimogamo Shrine. The doll festival was originally held to repel uncleanness by entrusting these to the doll. This event starts at 11am but the event that you can actually join is from 12pm (please note that the time changes by how the event is going). As it is very crowded, we recommend that you visit Shimogamo Shrine earlier than the actual starting time. Are you ready to take a tour with me now?
Entrance photo
So, this is the first entrance of Shimogamo Shrine. You may probably think that the shrine will appear right after walking through the gate, but the precinct of this shrine is huge as it is approximately 30 acres, about the same size of three Tokyo Domes. It is surrounded by trees emitting fresh air to its surroundings making visitors feel very relaxed.

Rock photo

Since Shimogamo Shrine is registered as a World Heritage, it is inscribed so on the rock.

Path photoStill walking through the forest to the shrine.

flag photo

We could finally see this flag! (It says “Nagashi bina, the doll festival.)

Entrance photo2
We arrived at the shine around 10:30am, but it was already crowded. Visitors were talking pictures, walking around the precinct, praying to the shrine and so on.

Hina dolls
There were hina dolls on the seven story shelves. On top of the shelves, there are dolls of newlyweds and their brothers and sisters are on the shelves below. Please also check out their gorgeous and colorful clothes!

It is right before 11am. Very crowded.

Before the event starts, we went to buy our own “Nagashi bina”. There are two sizes of “Nagashi bina” (¥500 for small doll and ¥1,000 for big doll). If you buy a big size “Nagashi bina”, special Hina Matsuri snack will come along.


These are the “Nagashi bina” doll and the special Hina Matsuri crackers coated by chocolate. I really liked it when I was a child.

Entrance photo3
So, let’s get in to the event area! (Very crowded!)


Main Photo
If you buy your own “Nagashi bina” in Shimogamo Shrine, you can be close to the Mitarashi River and flow your doll to the river (dolls are sold from around 10 am). It is believed that your children's health will be blessed if you flow this doll as you pray.


The lady is wearing a type of kimono called “Junihitoe” which is an extremely elegant and highly complex traditional kimono.
A comment from the staff
My first experience of joining “Nagashi bina festival”! I was surprised by the numbers of people who joined this event on that day! You may feel quite refreshed after visiting Shimogamo Shrine where this event will take place as the shrine is surrounded by trees emitting fresh air to its surroundings. I would advise that you buy your “Nagashi bina” when you arrive at the shrine as there is a limited number of them. Please also enjoy other areas of this shrine!

Page Top