You can see colorful life-sized chrysanthemum dolls and numerous kinds of chrysanthemums for free at the Takefu Kiku Ningyo Festival. (Kiku means “chrysanthemum” and ningyo means “doll.”) Kiku Ningyo festival is one of Japan’s cultural traditions.
The Takefu Kiku Ningyo Festival has a 70-year history and is one of the three best Kiku Ningyo Festivals in Japan. It’s held every year from early October through early November at Takefu Chuo Park(武生中央公園), Fukui.
The Takefu region in Fukui used to be a vital area for chrysanthemum production and people there loved entertainment, so in 1952 the Takefu Kiku Ningyo Festival was established, it being hoped that it would entertain people who were depressed following World War II.
The chrysanthemum is a symbol of Japan, along with cherry blossoms. It’s used on the imperial family crest and printed on the cover of the Japanese passport.
The festival has a theme every year, and this year’s theme is “timeless colorful adventures.” About 20,000 chrysanthemums are displayed at the event.
In my opinion, there are three highlights at the Takefu Kiku Ningyo Festival:
- The colorful chrysanthemum dolls
- The gorgeous large chrysanthemums
- The beautiful fountain
I went to this year’s festival. When I went in through the gate a yellow mascot character named Kikurin (a chrysanthemum fairy) welcomed me. I heard fun music and saw a lot of families in the park.
I first saw the Peter Pan chrysanthemum dolls. Peter Pan was wearing an outfit made of yellow chrysanthemums, Wendy was wearing clothes made of pink and white ones, and Captain Hook was wearing an outfit of purple ones. There was a small pirate ship that a child was riding.
Next I saw a Thumbelina chrysanthemum doll and one of a prince who appears in her story. “Thumbelina” is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Then I saw some chrysanthemum dolls of the characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I was happy to see them because this is my favorite story. Alice was wearing clothing made of pink and red chrysanthemums.
A lot of chrysanthemums that had been grown by amateur lovers of these flowers were also on display. It had taken two years to grow some of them.
The large chrysanthemums were one of the highlights of the festival. These are chrysanthemums whose flowers are more than 20 centimeters in diameter. They were gorgeous, and some people took pictures of them.
There was also a beautiful fountain that was surrounded by a lot of chrysanthemums. I think this is a good place for taking pictures.
If you go to the festival, keep in mind that you can’t see chrysanthemums everywhere in the park, but only in certain places.
At Takefu Chuo Park there are various things that you can ride, like a merry-go-round, a monorail, and a pirate ship ride. (The Ferris wheel is going to stop operating this year, so you won’t be able to ride it next year.) You can ride any of these for a charge.
There were about 10 street stalls in the park selling ramen, French fries, crepes, castillas, and grilled chicken.
It’s a relatively big park, so it took about 40 minutes to see all the chrysanthemums.
I think this is a good festival to go to if you like flowers or have children. It’s fun to be able to see chrysanthemums, go on rides, and see other attractions all in the same place.
<Takefu Kiku Ningyo Festival Information>
Period: Early October–early November every year
Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Venue: Takefu Chuo Park(武生中央公園, Takefu chuo kouen in Japanese)
Access: A 20-minute walk from JR Takefu Station