Sacred dolls & miniature samurai armor
This neighborhood is where they make and sell the amazing doll sets for Girls’ Day.
The dolls made in the Asakusabashi district aren’t just decorative; they can countermand curses, heal illness, and (if left out too long after the Doll Festival) delay marriage for daughters in the family. And because they’re sacred, they can’t be thrown away when they get old – they have to be cremated in a special ceremony at a shrine.
Here’s what we’ll see walking around the area near the station:
Let’s turn left and walk down the street. We’ll see:
•Shimojima, an eight-story store that sell everything from party invitations to Mr. Toast masks.
•A doll/seasonal decoration store which always has a display of dolls in glass cases and rotates supplies and decorations for the rest of the year: koi nobori carp flags and armor sets for Boys’ Day (the month before 5/5), and New Years’ decorations (two months before 12/31)
Let’s walk to the end of the block and cross the street, then turn back toward the station. On the way, we’ll see:
•Several small doll stores and Kyugetsu (the wide storefront with white lanterns hung all across the top of the big plate glass window). This is a famous “doll department store.”
There are always dolls on display, but the best times to see this neighborhood are:
• Feb: $10,000 Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) displays
• Apr: Koi nobori carp streamers and Boy’s Day armor displays.
• Nov – Dec:Japanese New year’s decorations
• Dec:Battledores and glass cases with weapons and armor displays.
Most stores open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Nearby destinations: Akihabara, Asakusa, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Inari-cho, Kappabashi, Ueno
Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo