- 2 min read

Kokeshi Doll Mini Museum

Wooden toys at Shiroishi-Zao station

I knew Kokeshi dolls were one of the most popular dolls of Japan. When I knew I was going to visit Japan, I thought I’d run into kokeshi everywhere. But, I was mistaken. In Tokyo, I didn’t see any kokeshi doll at all! So my friend, a doll artist from the Tohoku region, invited me to visit his favorite kokeshi places.

In Tohoku, kokeshi dolls and other wooden toys are quite popular. There are many workshops and artists producing kokeshi dolls. I visited a few places and purchased kokeshi dolls for a very reasonable price. I learned about the production of dolls, some history, and a great variety of kokeshi dolls.

You can understand it just by arriving at Shiroishi-Zao JR Station, which houses a special mini-museum of their most popular local crafts. Admission is free of charge and this place produces umen noodle and kokeshi dolls. Kokeshi dolls may appear to be alike, but it’s not true – all of them are different by shape, painting themes and facial features. There are traditional and modern kokeshi when artists are free to use more colors, carving and burning of contours. Every kokeshi doll has the artist’s signature or stamp on the bottom. Which started out as a simple toy for children, the kokeshi doll developed into the art.

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