Hinamatsuri or Girl’s Day is one of the next big events on the Japanese calendar. In the days leading up to it families display a collection of ornamental dolls at home, in order to celebrate and pray for the good health and wellbeing of growing girls.

The ornamental collection is believed to represent a Heian-era wedding, and consists of intricately decorated dolls representing the emperor, empress, as well as their musicians and attendants.
Sometimes the collection can be quite large, with dolls that have been passed down from generation to generation, each elaborately decorated and well cared for.

If you are into Japan’s more traditional side, then this is the matsuri for you. However, If you are looking for something a little more quirky and unique, then Izu Shaboten Zoo has got you covered, with their Shaboten Hinamatsuri display made from a platform arrangement featuring ‘cactus dolls’.

Izu Shaboten Zoo’s unique display reinvents the Hinakazuri doll exhibit, and replaces the traditional ‘hina doll’ collection with cacti dressed in fine Heian-style clothing.

The Shaboten Hinamatsuri will be held at the zoo’s ‘Greenhouse Mexican Pavilion’ until 3 April 2021. It is the 8th time that Izu Shaboten Zoo has held the special event.

The display consists of a three-tiered platform showcasing an imperial couple (dairi-bina) on the top tier, three court ladies (san-nin kanjyo) on the second tier, and five musicians (go-nin bayashi) on the bottom stage.
The top tier has a golden backdrop, and the imperial couple are framed by miniature pink flowers placed at either side of the stage.
On the middle and bottom stages the cacti are set up individually, each with their own prop and characteristics.

Izu Shaboten Zoo’s ‘cactus dolls’ are not for sale, but if you like the idea of creating your own Cacti Hinazakuri, you can purchase cacti from the zoo’s official online store and decorate them at home.
Cacti that shine each individuality. "Cactus chicks" are not for sale, but you can purchase cacti that have been carefully prepared by the famous staff of Izu Shaboten Zoo at the official online shop.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.