Nagae traditional dolls

Nagoya’s Hina doll was designated as a national traditional craft as “Nagoya Sekku Kazari (festival decorations)” in 2021. Along with other long-established companies, Nagae Traditional Dolls has been manufacturing and selling Hina dolls for over half a century since 1967. In 2022, second-generation owner and doll maker, Shinya Kitagawa (Yoshiho) was certified as a traditional craftsman by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and he has been devoted to spreading the Hina doll culture. New dolls are created by basing designs on traditional dolls, and they have won numerous awards at the Chubu Doll Sekkuhin Contest.

Hina dolls have a long history, and their origin goes back to the mid Heian Period which is approximately 1000 years ago. Back then, people performed various purification rituals to wish for good health on the first snake day of the lunar march. One of these rituals consisted of pushing folded paper dolls down the river or the sea as their substitutes for washing away bad luck. 

Around the same time, a form of children’s game called the “Hiina Asobi” was popular among the upper class girls. This involved using paper to make dolls, palaces and equipment and is similar to what we would now call “mamagoto asobi” (playing house). Purification rituals as mentioned previously combined with children’s games to transform into “Hina Matsuri” over the course of time. 

It has been said that March 3rd became the date of Hina Matsuri about 600 years back in the Muromachi Period. At this time, the festival still had a stronger sense of purification. It only became the gorgeous and colorful girl’s festival we know today from about 400 years ago in the Edo Period. What used to be an event for upper class women became an event for commoners as well, spread from Edo to every region in Japan and eventually took the shape of the modern Hina Matsuri. 

Under the reign of the Owari Tokugawa Family, traditional crafts of all varieties developed in the castletown of Nagoya during the early Edo Period. Manufacturing of decorations essential to Hina Matsuri also developed during this time. Two of the largest production areas of Hina dolls are said to be Kyoto and Tokyo, and Nagoya, being located at the midpoint, made use of its location and regional characteristics to create various products that were favored by both the east and the west.

Production of Hina dolls usually involves the division of procedures among craftsmen according to the parts including the face, limbs and body. Nagae Traditional Dolls specializes in the production of the body. By applying techniques of dressing and layering of traditional costumes and also by combining materials in an unconventional style, it is our challenge to produce Hina dolls that can be displayed not only during Hina Matsuri season but also as interior decor at any time of the year.


The Nagae Traditional Dolls Workshop has been producing and selling Hina dolls for over more than half a century since its foundation. In 2021, their “Nagoya Sekkukazari” (traditional Hina festival decorations) were designated as traditional Japanese handcraft. We produce Hina dolls for each child by meeting each customer’s specific needs. Every year, we also create new dolls basing our design on traditional dolls, and they have won numerous awards at the Chubu Doll Sekkuhin Contest.

Hina dolls have a long history, and their origin goes back to about 1000 years ago. Dolls wearing the traditional Heian Period costume were made to celebrate the birth of a girl and to wish for her good health (“Momo no Sekku”). Gorgeous use of colors and gradation are used on the collars, sleeves, and hems of the costumes. Making full use of techniques for dressing and kasane (collar layering), Japanese materials are combined to create Hina dolls which can be enjoyed as modern interior decoration regardless of the season.

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