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Yanagawa Doll Festival
While Japan officially celebrates Girls' Day (also known as Hina Matsuri, or the Doll Festival) on March 3rd, some communities around the country welcome the annual event with more than a little enthusiasm. The canal city of Yanagawa in southern Fukuoka prefecture allots nearly two full months (early February to early April) for its own Hina celebrations. During that time, many shops, restaurants and private homes open their doors to visitors participating in "sagemon" tours. Sagemon are the traditional hanging decorations - cloth animals and hand-woven balls mostly - that are created by female family members upon the birth of a daughter. They are hung next to traditional Japanese Hina doll sets, with the figurines dressed in clothing from Japan's Heian Era (794-1185). Visitors are welcome to pop into any building display the pink Hina festival flag to see the colorful displays.
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