|Sign for the Naruko Kokeshi Museum. We didn't get to go, but maybe next time.|
One of Iwashita's two mega-kokeshis. You can't miss it if driving on Route 47.
The museum part is basically a one-room display area covering origins, tools (you'd be surprised at the complexity of the a kokeshi-makers tools), a map showing where kokeshis come from, and so forth. There was even a foot-powered lathe on display. I think the tool part was the best, while the all-Tohoku kokeshi display looked like it had been completely knocked over during the earthquake in March. Why haven't they been put back up where they belong? Meanwhile, back in the display area was Ms. Yusa Taeko 遊佐妙子さん painting a number of her Naruko kokeshis. I did not get to talk to her, but according to Iwashita's web site there are a number of associated artisans who regularly show up and demonstrate kokeshi making.
Welcome signs with kokeshi art.
|Ms. Yusa Taeko painting some of her kokeshis. Note her T-shirt -- that's a kokeshi mascot.|
|Christmas kokeshis. I know these would be really popular in America.|
|The kokeshi display has seen better days. I would guess they were sitting on those shelves until March 11th, 2011.|
|An interactive display where one presses a button beneath a kokeshi to find its location of origin on the map.|
|In the gift shop. Everything in here is kokeshi-related.|
|Kokeshi lucky cats 招き猫. Very creative. I also liked the cone shaped kokeshi in the back.|
|Boxed kokeshi snacks of various sorts such as senbei and cookies.|
|Inside the display area.|
|A foot-powered lathe.|
|Some kokeshi-making tools. Naoko has learned that the artisans have to make their own tools.|
|More tools for crafting kokeshis.|
|Chopstick and kokeshi boxed sets. Well, why not?|
|Of course there were plenty of Naruko kokeshis for sale.|
|If there was ever at time I believed that kokeshis did not need their own mascot character, I was wrong.|
|These were either drink stirrers or ear picks. I can't remember which.|
|Iwashita's other mega-kokeshi. The sun finally came out right before I took this shot.|
|A whole mess of kokeshi cell phone straps.|
Overall, I highly recommended a visit to Iwashita Kokeshi Shiryokan if you're ever in Naruko. Here is a link (in Japanese) to Iwashita for more information: http://www.iwashita.info/
Another kokeshi adventure completed.