Beautiful Japanese dolls in traditional dresses

Some time ago there was an exhibition at the Japanese embassy dedicated to traditional dolls of Japan. Couldn't miss it because firstly, still have this childish weakness for dolls; second, Japanese dolls are really something special, they were created not as toys for children but like some type of art to admire; and third, those dolls are dressed in traditional clothes which would never fail to arouse my interest. Besides, Japanese culture has always been fascinating to me. At the exhibition I could not only enjoy the beautiful dolls but find out something new from the information written on the stands.

Traditional Japanese doll

The dolls are made with such accuracy, with such attention to every smallest detail of the costume. Fineness and beauty of the dresses' fabrics, gracefulness and naturalness of the dolls' poses simply amaze you.

Traditional Japanese doll Oyama Ningyo in beautiful costume

All the dolls on the photos above are called Oyama Ningyo. It is a typical Japanese doll dressed in a beautiful costume expressing woman's beauty and graceful figure. Oyama Ningyo is based on the costume of the Edo era and has been produced since that time.

The name of this composition is Rokudan. Rokudan expresses how peacefully a beatiful lady plays Koto, a traditional Japanese string instrument. Koto has long been an accompaniment in Japanese classical music.

Traditional Japanese doll Dojoji

This doll's name is Dojoji. It impersonates a dancer who came to Dojoji temple to attend a memorial service for a bell. She was asked by a monk to dance in front of the bell. First she danced solemnly, wearing a coronet and holding a fan. Then she danced gracefully, this time holding a woven hat and beating the hand drum.

Traditional Japanese doll Oiran depicting a courtesan

And this is Oiran doll. Oirans were high ranking courtesans of Yoshiwara Yukaku (pleasure district). They were entertainers rather than simply "women of pleasure", who were highly trained in the classics, calligraphy, tea ceremony, singing and etc.

Traditional Japanese doll Hanayome dressed in traditional wedding costume

Hanayome doll is dressed in a traditional Japanese wedding costume. A Japanese bride ordinarily wears a garment called Uchikake on her kimono and has her hair dressed in a style called Bunkin Takashimada. She also puts a special ornament on her head meaning that a bride can get along with her husband if she doesn't reveal her true self.

Traditional Japanese doll

And this is Shiokumi, a female diver. She wears a special headgear and a straw-like rain-cape known as Suikan around her waist. Suspended from her shoulders are wooden buckets attached to a bar to scoop up water from the sea.

Traditional Japanese doll depicting a princess

Yaegaki Hime is a princess and holding in her hands a helmet, her family treasure.

Traditional Japanese doll Okaji depicting a married woman

Okaji is a married woman with a lantern. The composition is from a popular Japanese drama.

These two dolls are Fujimusume. With wisterias in full bloom everywhere a beautiful girl appears as if the spirit of wisteria, holding up a twig of the blossom and dancing, showing her feeling of love as the song goes on.

I really enjoyed the exhibition and couldn't help but sharing with you the photos of these beauties. Hope you enjoyed too.


  1. Hello dear :) These are so fantastic. The artwork in them is amazing and the stories they tell really get my attention. I found myself really wanting to know what each one was holding and why, as if that was a way to get to know them a little. The lady with the drum around her neck and the bucket lady were probably my favorites. I guess "bucket list" had a different meaning back then :) I also was especially wowed by the woman holding the family head dress or helmet. These are so outstanding!! xoxo

  2. I'm really happy you decided to share this one because I also have an interest in traditional dresses. This exhibition is amazing.. These dolls are a work of art. I really enjoying seeing all these different attires on them. In addition, I was really fascinated by accompanying stories.

    The purple kimono worn by that a married woman fascinated me. It is very graceful and elegant, I wouldn't mind wearing it myself. I liked that doll a lot...but really all of them are special because they are have a different meaning and significance. I wasn't familiar with Oirans as such. I heard of Geisha but as far as I know they were not really courtesans, that was mistaken western imagination.

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing these exquisite dolls, they are works of art. I really enjoyed finding out about each one. The costuming on each one is so beautiful and every little detail is perfect.

  4. Wow!!!! These dolls are amazing and the costumes are stunning. I love the detail on each one of them and that each doll o's a different persona and has different accessories or gold different things to show who she is meant to be. So much symbolism. Very lovely post. I enjoyed reading about the dolls and looking at beautiful works of art that these dolls are :) :) :)