Sunday, October 30, 2011

National Kokeshi Festival Part 3 全国こけし祭りパート3

Naruko Onsen is a kokeshi town, and one has only to spend a few minutes there to see that. I took the following photos after spending a couple hours at the National Kokeshi Festival's main venue. Anybody who considers him or herself a kokeshi connoisseur must make a trip Naruko. It's a requirement.

Naruko Town overlooks this valley.
This sign says Kokeshi Street, and the bulletin board is the "Kokeshi Bulletin Board."
Another sign saying Kokeshi Street.
This is the street leading up from the JR train station. What a nice welcome.
A bus stop in the center of town. 
If you look down you'll see drain covers like this...
... and manhole covers like this.
One of Naruko's many souvenir shops. This one specializes in kokeshis and kokeshi goods.
Become a Naruko kokeshi!
Inside the above souvenir shop.
Kokeshi-themed tea cups. Why didn't I get a set of these? Next time.
Kokeshi sake.
Kokeshi warabi mochi, which, according to Wikipedia, is not really mochi.
This shop sells kokeshis and lacquer ware.
Another kokeshi souvenir shop.
A shop sign.
Kokeshi-shaped lantern.
Kokeshi-painted metal shutters.
One shop had a display of vintage Naruko ephemera like these.
Even if you don't go into an onsen while at Naruko, there's always the free foot baths at various places around the town.  
I mentioned in the previous blog about the smell of sulfur in Naruko. Well, here's why. Steam is everywhere, and hot water bubbles right out of the ground at various places like this.
Naruko's Kokeshi Jinja こけし神社 (Shinto shrine). Do you see the kokeshi?

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