Friday, November 05, 2010


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.

Malasada Cafe (UPDATE: 2016 no longer in business)
on the platform of the Keihan Hirakata Koen Station
Phone: 072.841.5514


Lindsay-Jean said...

Sounds like a great day, those dolls are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I lived at Hirakata-koen for years...this post makes me nostalgic. I never liked chrysanthemums much but now I miss them.

K and S said...

They definitely were beautiful Linny :)

Hope you get a chance to come back Meganegaki :)

Take care you two.

Jude said...

Those dolls are really amazing, so lovely (I smiled at your memory of the float :)).

And ok, I can't believe there's malasadas in Japan!!! You know, I went to Portugal so excited I'd get to eat malasadas in the homeland (akin to going to Japan to sample sashimi)...but no one had a clue what I was talking about, even after describing it (knowing it might not necessarily be called malasadas) guy finally realized maybe it was unique to the azores or some of the islands, and not widespread in Portugal. Sigh, slight disappointment. (Also, I guess malasadas mean badly cooked or something, so when I went around asking, everyone heard me asking for a badly cooked thing!)

K and S said...

Jude, in Japan, there is Kua A'ina (they have more shops than Hawaii!), Leonard's, Eggs n Things, Sam Choy's, Roy's, Alan Wong's (I think), L & L and even Ted's pies...I have kinda mixed feeling about having Hawaii so close...but I am surprised about you not being able to have malasadas in the mother country, that would have made me majorly sad!

Take care.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Those dolls are so gorgeous--such a lot of elaborate work. Fun to find malasadas there too. ;-)

K and S said...

these dolls are truly something to see Debinhawaii :)

Take care.

Rowena said...

Very cool about these floral dolls made out of chrysanthemums - glad you guys checked it out. And malasadas? Hmmm...maybe one filled with chestnut paste needs to be made in the kitchen...

K and S said...

can't wait to see those chestnut filled ones on your blog Rowena :)

Take care.