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Miso Hungry Podcast

Episode 8: It’s Girl’s Day!


This week, we’re all celebrating Hinamatsuri!

Come join our Hinamatsuri party!

octopus hats

(Which actually has nothing to do with wearing stuffed octopuses on your heads like hats. But, you know, that’s how we roll here at the Miso Hungry Podcast. We’re silly like that.)

So what is Hinamatsuri? Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) is Girl’s Day, or the Japanese Doll Festival, and is held on March 3rd of each year.

It’s a day for people to pray for the happiness and healthy growth of girls. Families with young daughters celebrate this day by setting up a display of dolls inside the house. They offer rice crackers and other food to the dolls.

hina ningyo

Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display sets of dolls (雛人形 hina-ningyō): Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period. The size of the dolls that a family has, or the number of steps that their display has vary, but usually the displays are of five or seven layers. Single-tiered decorations with one male and one female doll are also common.

The top tier always has the Emperor (Odairi-sama), holding an imperial baton, and Empress (Ohime-sama), holding a fan. They’re usually placed in front of a gold folding screen
2nd Tier: 3 court ladies (san-nin kanjo). Each holds sake equipment
3rd Tier: 5 male musicians (gonin bayashi). Each holds an instrument, except the singer, who holds a fan.
4th Tier: 2 ministers (daijin)
5th Tier: 3 helpers or samurai, as the protectors of the Emperor and Empress
6th & 7th tiers: variety of furniture, tools, carriages, etc.
Other items displayed on the tiers: Tables holding diamond-shaped rice cakes, cherry blossom trees, lamp stands, silk lanterns, etc.

There’s also a Hinamatsuri song! (No, we are not going to sing it for you.)

Akari o tsukemashou bonbori ni
明かりをつけましょう ぼんぼりに
Ohana o agemashou momo no hana
お花をあげましょう 桃の花
Go-nin bayashi no fue taiko
五人ばやしの 笛太鼓
Kyo wa tanoshii Hinamatsuri

Let’s light the lanterns
Let’s set peach flowers
Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums
Today is a joyful Dolls’ Festival

And now, to the important part… the food!

eating at our hinamatsuri party

Although we couldn’t find any (our Hinamatsuri party was a little too early) one of the traditional foods are Hishimochi, which are diamond-shaped rice cakes. They are colored pink, white, and green. Pink stands for the peach blossom, white means purity (snow), and green stands for health (earth/new growth).


Chirashi-zushi (“scattered sushi”)

chirashi zushi

Sakura-mochi (bean paste-filled rice cakes with cherry leaves) are sweet pink mochi filled with red bean paste, and wrapped in a sakura (cherry blossom leaf) that has been pickled in salt water

sakura mochi

(Sometimes they have adzuki bean paste in them. Ours had white lima bean paste instead. Very delicious!)

sakura mochi

Hina-arare, which are colorful puffed rice coated in sugar.

hina arare

(We couldn’t find hina-arare either, so instead we went with sakura arare… not the same, but still delicious!)

sakura arare

Shirozake (sweet white sake) – literally “white sake” – which is made by mixing steamed mochi rice, koji mold, and mirin, and letting it mature for a month, then crushing it in a mortar. It has a low alcohol content (10% alcohol, but is considered as a type of liquor). Almost half of the mixture is a sweet rice porridge.


Hamaguri Ushio-jiru, a very simple soup made with a clear broth and clams.

hamaguri ushio-jiru

Since this was Allison’s very first Hinamitsuri ever, we decided to have a party at Rachael’s house!

making chirashi zushi

We ate all those delicious foods…


…played with her cats…

Allison playing with one of Rachael's cats

…looked at dolls…

looking at dolls


coloring pages

…you know, all the important things in life.

Rachael recording

Then Allison and Rachael did some recording together (our apologies about the bad echo… this was our first time ever recording in the same location, and we’re still figuring things out!), with our special guest hosts, the Fuji girls. ^_^

Allison recording

We had so much fun with our Hinamatsuri party. We hope you’ll have one too, and tell us all about it!

Here are some links to help you out with your own Hinamatsuri party:

Don’t forget, today’s the last day to enter to win a Rice Cube!

Rachael and Allison with their octopuses

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  • jenjenk Feb 27, 2012 at 8:09am
    you guys are so goofy, it's adorable - LOVE that octopus hat. I was kinda hoping to also see you guys in a kimono or something!!! You know....all traditional & stuff. :)
  • Allison Feb 27, 2012 at 2:33pm
    One of these days... but I don't own a kimono (yet)! But you can be sure that as soon as I acquire one there will be silly pictures of us wearing them... ^_^
  • Kenny Feb 27, 2012 at 3:05pm
    You two are so funny together! Especially wearing the stuffed octopuses!!! When I was young I recall bachan making some somen that had just a few strands that were pink & green. Perhaps this was around Hinamatsuri time.
  • Zakka Life Mar 18, 2012 at 3:41pm
    Rachael, I hosted a girl's day party at my house too this year too. I set up the snacks on my coffee table as well (we have the same one as you). I also had our kokeshi dolls displayed on our side tables. Great minds think alike ;) Here's a link to the post if you want to check it out. Your clam soup looks delicious! Jessica

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