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Doll Floating Ceremony

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Doll Floating is a ritual performed on Girl's Day at Awashima Shrine in Wakayama. The festival involves loading boats with traditional Japanese dolls and launching them out to sea in a special ritual. 

The dolls are donated by the families of girls. It's thought that any potential bad luck is launched out to sea with the dolls thus ensuring the health and success of the girls who donated the dolls. Doll-floating rituals date back to the 8th century. 

In modern times, it's more common for families to display traditional dolls on Girl's Day and then put them away before the day is over. Awashima Shrine is one of the few places where doll floating is still practiced. 

When the spectators leave, the boats are retrieved and the dolls are burned. This is truly a must-see event.

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