Hina Matsuri is girl's day festival in Japan, held on March the 3rd each year. "Kyoto fan" on facebook explains:
"For this special occasion, people set up the famous Hina Dolls in a special display in their houses. Some dress up their little girls in beautiful kimonos andtake them to the Shinto Shrines.
A friend told me that in the Shimogamo Shrine they have a special ceremony for Hina Matsuri called Nagashi Bina, so I decided to go and take a look.
Access to the Shimogamo Shrine:
From the JR Kyoto Station take the City bus No.4 or No.205 (boarding location A2) and get off at the Shimogamo Shrine bus stop, takes about 30 minutes.
You can find Kyoto fan here: http://www.facebook.com/discoverkyoto
Their page is well worth a visit, the photographs are amazing and it gives a real insight to Japanese traditions in modern life. It's like history is still current :)
This is how ladies of the imperial court would have dressed centuries ago in the Heian period. I think this lady is representing the Empress. Silk kimono were complexly layered up in what is called the twelve layered robe or junihitoe, although the number of layers varied, and colours, patterns and imagery were matched to the month or season. This was very strict, to the extent that it is recorded in the history books that one lady was once commented on for having one lavender layer "a shade too pale". The thin silk allowed the layers to glow through one another so you got a kind of ghostly luminescent effect where the patterns overlayed one another, just like the effect I'm currently working on with the surface of my teapots.