March (三月): Things to look forward to

Today it is the first day of March 三月, that means new month and new things to look forward to, especially in Japan. These are the main things to do if you happen to be around . . .

Omizutori (お水取り)

Held for two weeks, this celebration starts on March 1st every year at Nara’s Tōdai-ji Temple’s Nigatsu-dō Hall, is a rite in which you confess your sins in front of the Buddha and pray for world peace and bountiful harvests. It is an old rite which has not ceased since the 8th century and is known as the “rite which foretells the coming of spring” (春を告げる行事) since it begins to get warm by the time Omizutori ends.


Hinamatsuri (ひな祭り)

– On March 3rd –

A rite in which people wish for the healthy growth of girls. Households with young daughters usually set up a display decorated with showy dolls wearing aristocratic clothing. These hina dolls represent the imperial family and court of the Heian era. The house is decorated with peach blossoms in addition to the hina dolls, and special drinks and dishes including sweet white sake, chirashi-zushi and soup with clams are enjoyed by the family.

At Hōkyōji Temple 宝鏡寺, known for its “Temple of Dolls”, items such as dolls owned by female royals are displayed every year from March 1st to April 3rd. On March 1st (11:00 to 11:30), Japanese dances as well as playing of the biwa (Japanese lute) and singing are presented in the main hall decorated with dolls.



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