Saturday, September 15, 2012

Summer Kokeshi Adventure at Zao 2 蔵王で夏のこけし冒険a2

Easily the nicest looking kokeshi shop I've yet seen.
Continuing from the previous blog about our day-trip to Zao Onsen, the following is an entry about the second kokeshi maker's shop that we visited on 13 July: That of Mr. Okazaki Ikuo 岡崎幾雄さん, a 77-year old craftsman of the Zao 蔵王系 school of kokeshi making. As with last year Mr. Okazaki was not at his shop when we visited so we leisurely milled around looking at everything from the amazing kokeshis that he has created, to his personal collection of traditional kokeshis, to a nice selection of traditional Japanese wooden toys and modern kokeshis. The shop itself is so beautiful, both in terms of architecture and interior design, that it was a pleasure simply being there. In my opinion Mr. Okazaki's kokeshis, which have a baby-rattle body shape, are highly appealing, are of first rate quality. They're a bit more expensive than some other kokeshis, but well worth it.
Entering the shop.
Behold! Rows and rows of Zao kokeshis.

Yellow is a dominant color among Mr. Okazaki's kokeshis.
Mr. Okazaki's pieces aren't cheap, but they're exquisitely crafted and of the highest quality.

Daughter number two standing next to a giant Hijiori kokeshi 肘折系.
I bought the one second from the left. It compliments another Okazaki piece that we got last year.

Part of Mr. Okazaki's personal kokeshi collection. Yes, kokeshi makers can also be kokeshi enthusiasts.
What an innovative use of a kokeshi head. The sign translates as "Michinoku Kokeshi Association Mutual Support Shop."
Mr. Okazaki's work area.

A couple of nice kokeshi tenugui 手ぬぐい. These are typically sold at the annual kokeshi events.

Traditional handmade wooden toys. These are all made in Japan and are just beautiful.
The shop has a nice selection of tops, wooden toys, and even modern kokeshis.
We purchased a few items (including some sulfur balls to use in our home bath) and then left the shop and headed down the mountain to the highway for our drive back home to Tokyo. It was the end of another spectacular trip to Tohoku, and the happy conclusion of a highly successful kokeshi adventure.

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