Kokeshi Doll Experience Kokeshi Doll Experience

Kokeshi Doll Experience


2017.12.18

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Kokeshi Doll Experience
  • One of the most iconic figures you'll stumble across when visiting the Miyagi Prefecture are the incredibly cute and very traditional Kokeshi dolls. Fashioned to look like little people these wooden figures come in a variety of styles and sizes, however the one thing that unifies them is their meticulous craftsmanship. Considered a Naruko-cho speciality, if you have even a passing interest in the traditional culture of Miyagi a visit to a Kokeshi doll store or doll making shops is well worth a visit when you're in the area. In fact, the Kokeshi doll was considered such an important part of Miyagi culture that in 1981 they were officially designated a traditional Japanese craft.

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Aesthetically the dolls all follow a similar style. A classic Kokeshi doll features strong broad soldiers and a thick body. The design on the Kokeshi doll body typically features a fringe and a pattern of delicate chrysanthemums along its body. Because of its oversized sold head which is later applied to the body, perfect symmetry is achieved between between the top and the bottom of these small statues. As they come together the heads and the bodies of the dolls are crafted separately. The head is simply inserted into the torso making it able to turn 360 degrees.

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Though in terms of design the doll is rather humble, these little figures have captured hearts not only across the country but across the entire world. Their popularity hit fever pitch in France where in Paris even children's books have been created starring the dolls themselves. Though the origin of the doll isn't exactly clear, legend has it that the doll came into being during the Edo period. During this time in Japan's history many people would take wood from the trees that dotted the Miyagi hot spring area to craft themselves small toys and figures. Many believe this is when the first creations of the Kokeshi came to be. As the doll became more popular, local craftsmen pushed the boundaries of design and style finally coming to the Kokeshi that we see today.

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    The Kokeshi museum in Osaki is home to an impressive collection of over 5,000 dolls all on display. Many of these figures were kindly donated by avid doll collector Mr Kaname Fukazawa. Beyond this fascinating exhibit, visitors to the quaint museum can witness doll makers in action. Master craftsmen, the Kokeshi doll makers are involved in the doll making process from the beginning (by selecting the wood) right up to the final moments of polishing before they're on the shelf for sale and display. This intensive involvement makes each individual doll unique in its own special way.

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    If you are interested in this history of Kokeshi dolls or you want to even try your hand at crafting your own this is a must not miss experience while in the MIyagi area. Given their enigmatic history and their incredibly well considered design, a visit to the Kokeshi doll museum is a lesson in patience, beauty and classic traditional Japanese history.

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Kokeshi Doll Experience

    Japan Kokeshi Museum
    rating

    3.5

    37 Reviews
    place
    Miyagi Pref. Osakishi Narukonsen Shitomae 74-2
    phone
    0229833600
    opening-hour
    8:30-17:00[Dec.]9:00-16:00
    View Allarrow

Click here for a summary article including this article