The Joge Doll Festival and a Journey by Train

Enjoying the Olympic doll display at Joge Gallery and Café

Time has continued to fly by and now the state of emergency rules have begun to lift in small ways throughout Hiroshima Prefecture. To safely enjoy this return to freedom I decided to visit Joge during their famous Hina-Matsuri or Doll Festival by taking the scenic Japan Rail system.
For those travelers excited to experience the world by Japanese railway, some words of caution, the train route to Joge Town from Hiroshima City takes some time, about 3 hours and has one short transfer in Miyoshi City. Also, the trains’ schedule has limited times so be sure to leave early, missing a train can ruin an otherwise great experience, so please be careful and don’t be late!

Now let’s check out how to get to Joge by train!

First, once at Hiroshima Station buy a ticket for Miyoshi-city on the Geibi Line. The ticket is about 1,400 yen. Follow signs for the Geibi Line or Miyoshi to platform 9.
On the timetable the Geibi Line is indicated by the letter “P” and a purple color so it is easy to find! The times are listed here for your convenience, but if you plan your own visit, always double check the times, because sometimes they will change due to holidays or unforeseen delays.

The train ride from Hiroshima Station to Miyoshi Station takes about 1 ½ hours. So please be sure to time your arrival to catch the transfer for Joge at Miyoshi Station!

The Geibi Line train pictured below is easy to spot in Hiroshima Station because of its famous red color! While new trains are very modern and have a sleek silver design, the red Geibi Line train shows off a cool vintage style that adds a layer of picturesque charm to the ride.



After boarding the train you will have a relaxing ride to Miyoshi and can take many great pictures from the window! Check out these country mountains and that sunny blue sky! You can really feel spring is about to bloom!

After arriving in Miyoshi please prepare to transfer quickly to the Fukuen Line bound for Fuchu. You can buy a ticket for Joge at Miyoshi Station for 680 yen, just be careful not to miss the train! The time table for the Fukuen Line to Fuchu is posted for your convenience.

The Fukuen Line train is an interesting sight. The train is often only used by local travelers, so it is only a single car train. In Japanese these are sometimes called ワンマン電車 or literally one-man trains because they are operated by a single person.

After transferring, please sit back and relax for about 1 ½ hours, enjoy the scenery, read a book, contemplate the meaning of life but please watch out for your final stop, Joge! If you miss your stop it can be very difficult to get back on the right track!

Riding the train through old mountains and open skies is a very peaceful way to enjoy a Saturday morning. When life gets stressful, sometimes the best thing you can do is watch the world as it slowly passes out your window

Soon you will arrive at Joge Station, a quaint but stylish stop with a small café which was showcased in a previous article here.

The large pink sign exclaims “Hina-Matsuri” , showing the local doll festival has begun! The Doll festival in Joge Town is very special because it is not only one day, but almost an entire month long celebration. During which beautiful antique dolls and Joge Town’s creative energy is in full display!

For example, this year at Joge Station you can enjoy a special Gundam robot display, shown on the traditional festival doll stage. It creates an exciting impact!

All of the cool robot models were constructed by local Joge “gunpla” enthusiasts or Gundam robot collectors. Although this is not the traditional style it was fun to see a mix of old and modern “dolls” that breathe new life into the event.

From the station, you can walk down the main street and enjoy a variety of beautiful traditional doll displays for the doll festival.

Traditionally, Girl’s Day, celebrated on March 3rd every year is when families put out extravagant doll stages meant to represent the royal court in Heian period dress. The stages range from a stoic single boy–girl pair as shown above to full court party arrangements as pictured below.

This display was often a show of power and wealth for the family and was a method to attract potential male suitors for an eligible daughter. These days of course the decline in popularity for arranged marriages has changed the Doll Festival culture to more of a celebration of health, happiness and beauty of all young girls.

As showcased in the previous article here, Joge Gallery and Café is a very popular spot during the Hina-Matsuri season. This year Joge Gallery and Café added even more to their well-known 2020 Japan Olympic doll arrangement. For the 2022 festival Joge Gallery owner, Mrs. Shigemori, decided it was a good idea to create a new display passing the Olympic baton to France, the next summer Olympic Games host in 2024!

Prominently featuring a mini-Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Seine River! Mrs. Shigemori explained that to add to the authenticity of the display, she handmade new wigs for the dolls that include a wider variety of hair colors, not just black, but now blonde and brown. Her attention to detail did not stop there, understanding the French love for wine and fashionable cafes she added props as well!

I hope I can enjoy wine by the Seine River with a beautiful view of the Eiffel tower someday, like this fashionable young man pictured above!

For now though, I must say I am very happy with enjoying the history and creativity of the Joge Doll Festival. When visiting Hiroshima in spring please consider stopping by Joge for this major event! The Doll Festival in Joge begins near the end of February and continues to about mid-March every year so there are many chances to visit during your next trip.

This year, the festival is running from February 19th to March 21st. If you have time and are either visiting or living in Hiroshima, please make a point of checking out the festival. There are many more displays and photo opportunities that I could not capture in this blog alone!
Until next time, I must go or I may miss the last train!
If you are interested in planning a day trip to enjoy the show and would like some English or Japanese assistance please contact us at the appropriate email below. We will be happy to help you get started in setting up a personal tour and give more detailed information concerning travel by train to Joge.

thometeach@gmail.com for English help
joge001@gmail.com for Japanese

Meet the Writer and Editor

Thome and Sage Panter have lived in Hiroshima Prefecture since 2018. The first year they arrived was spent in Joge. They are both in love with Japanese traditional culture and trying new things. Together they work in the fields of English education, peace activism, and international tourism to help promote a kinder, and more adventurous, international world.














Matt Thome(マット=トーミ)とSage Panter(セイジ=パーンタ)