As I was very interested in Japanese dolls, my friend invited me to visit a special place called Yajiro Kokeshi Mura. Firstly, I traveled by shinkansen from Tokyo to Shiroishi-Zao JR station. During my time at the station, I realized that place specialized in Kokeshi dolls as there was the museum of Kokeshi dolls (free of charge) displaying them in a big variety of shape and style. It was just the beginning of a very interesting visit!
Next, we traveled by car and crossed bridges decorated with Kokeshi figurines, which was quite unusual and funny. At Yajiro Kokeshi Mura, I found another museum showing the process of creating a Kokeshi doll and the display of the regional style. I selected about 10 Kokeshi dolls at their shop as the prices were very reasonable and the variety of dolls was amazing. So, I couldn’t stop myself! The shop’s owners were very happy and I received a small Kokeshi doll as a present.
Lastly, we went to see the Kokeshi doll craftsman working at his workshop. The master and his helper were very friendly and hospitable. They offered us green tea and had a good chat even though my Japanese was quite poor. Then the master demonstrated his work. Very quickly he made a souvenir for me – a small spinning top! At the workshop, I could see the master’s collection - Kokeshi dolls created by him and other artists, also different wooden dolls including Russian matryoshka. By the end of our visit the master presented me his work, a small Kokeshi doll with a very delicate painting. I was very happy! I’d like to visit that place once more.
To access: Fukuoka Line on Shiroisi City Bus Castle-kun (¥200 25 min ride to Yajiro Kokeshi-mura)
If one wants to try, the master-class cost is ¥700.