I wrote a little about the Kikuningyo (Chrysanthemum Dolls) of Hirakata Park before.
4 years ago, when it was the 96th display, it was supposed to be the last exhibit.
This year is technically the 100th year (though they didn't have any exhibits over the past 4 years, I think)...
We went to check out the display and it was beautiful.
This year's theme is Sakamoto Ryoma, the man who helped change Japan.
To make the dolls reminded me that it was similar to making floats.
(In high school, we would make floats for homecoming. Putting chicken wire over wooden structures then attaching paper flowers to them.)
First off, they start growing the chrysanthemums 400 days prior so that they are blooming when they create the dolls.
Then they make a wooden figure positioning them in particular stances and poses.
A "mesh" made out of bamboo "rope" is then put onto the figure in order to attach the flowers to the figure.
The artist then attaches the mums in the same direction so that the flowers all face the same way.
They also mix in pine fronds to give different textures.
After putting the mums in, they then decorate each doll with a head, hands, obi (fabric belts) and other items like swords or fans.
These dolls take a lot of time to put together, but the results are fabulous.
Since they reached 100 times, we aren't sure if they will continue to do these displays, so we're glad we were able to see this one.
After looking at all the dolls, we headed back to the station and had a snack at the Malasada Cafe.
It was a great little place located on the platform which also played hawaiian music.
We ordered a sugar malasada (the original) and a cocoa sugar malasada....130 each (about US$1.30) and some coffee 270 yen each (about US$2.70)
These malasada were good, not oily and very light.
Only thing we were disappointed with was that we could hardly tell there was cocoa powder on the cocoa sugar malasada.
It was a nice Autumn day, lots of beautiful flowers and good food.
on the platform of the Keihan Hirakata Koen Station