Hinamatsuri or Girl’s Day in Japan is celebrated with special foods, such as chirashi sushi, clam soup, and strawberry daifuku.
March 3rd is Girl’s Day in Japan and we celebrate Hinamatsuri or Doll Festival (雛祭り), wishing and praying for the future happiness of all girls.
The families who have girls will display their special Hina Dolls or Hina Ningyo (雛人形) on this special occasion. The miniature Hina Ningyo above was gifted by my best friend from Osaka long time ago, and I look forward to decorating with this ornament out every year.
When a baby girl is born, her parents or grandparents buy a set of Hina Ningyo or they pass their own set down to the girl. These dolls are dressed in costumes originally worn in the royal court during ancient times, and are displayed on a terraced stand shown below (image courtesy of Wiki).
10 Popular Menus for Hinamatsuri
In addition to the doll display, the Japanese also eat spring- and pink color- theme foods and sweets on this day to celebrate.
1. Chirashi Sushi ちらし寿司・五目寿司・ばら寿司
The Japanese typically eat Chirashi Sushi on this day. This recipe is a quick version with premade Chirashi Sushi Mix that is widely available in Japanese/Asian grocery stores. However, I’ll share the authentic way to make Chirashi Sushi soon (even though you may not be able to find the ingredients…).
You might be wondering why this chirashi sushi is missing sashimi on the rice. The actual name for the chirashi sushi you order at Japanese restaurants is called Edomae Chirashi (Sushi) (江戸前ちらし寿司), and it’s just one style of chirashi sushi served in Edo (old Tokyo) area since the Meiji era. If the sashimi is served on sushi rice (= vinegar seasoned rice), it’s called Edomae Chirashi. If sashimi is on regular steamed rice, it’s called Kaisen Don (海鮮丼). Now you know the differences.
2. Temari Sushi 手まり寿司
These colorful and beautiful sushi balls are called Temari Sushi, and they are perfect for celebrating Girl’s Day! It’ll be a fun to set up a DIY Temari Sushi Party for your children or girls!
3. Chirashi Sushi Cake & Chakin Sushi ちらし寿司ケーキと茶巾寿司
4. Inari Sushi 稲荷寿司
If you are looking for a finger food recipe, Inari Sushi is a perfect dish! Check out the recipe to see how I prepare this recipe. It’s slightly different from the traditional method. 😉
5. Ushio-Jiru or Clam Soup うしお汁・はまぐりのお吸い物
Ushio-Jiru is a clear soup made with seafood such as white fish or clams, and seasoned with only salt and sake. Clear clam soup is the most popular soup to go with chirashi sushi. I have a Clam Soup recipe that has miso flavor. If you like to make it without miso, simply omit the miso from the recipe.
6. Sakura Mochi 桜餅
For desserts, you can enjoy spring-theme sweets such as Sakura Mochi. The salt pickled cherry leaf gives nice contrast to the sweet red bean mochi.
7. Strawberry Daifuku Mochi いちご大福
Another popular dessert is Strawberry Daifuku. Tangy and sweet strawberry wrapped with sweet red bean paste and soft and chewy mochi. Japanese strawberries are in season during spring, so this spring-theme dessert is perfect for Girl’s Day!
8. Sanshoku Dango (Tri-color Dango) 三色団子
I received several requests for this recipe from JOC readers who learned about Sanshoku Dango in Japanese anime. I’ll try to make this recipe soon!
9. Mitarashi Dango みたらし団子
Classic Mitarashi Dango is much easier to make compared to Sanshoku Dango. Enjoy the savory sweet glaze on top of chewy dango mochi!
10. Hina Arare 雛あられ
On Hinamatsuri, kids enjoy eating these rice crispy snacks called Hina Arare. The rice crackers are coated with sugar but it’s not too sweet and has a nice crisp texture. You can purchase these colorful treats in Japanese grocery stores.
We hope you enjoy these Hinamatsuri menu I put together. Happy Hinamatsuri! 🎎
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Mar 1, 2013.