Saturday, October 27, 2012

All Japan Kokeshi Festival 2012 part 5 全国こけし祭り 2012 第5

The Kakizawa Kokeshi Shop
After we had enough of the first part of the kokeshi festival we decided to go drive around and see the beautiful area above Naruko Onsen. Of course the reason there's an onsen is that the town basically sits on top of a volcano. I don't think it's active, but in Japan who knows?
Naoko and I tend to like to replicate elements of previous trips, and like last year we once again stopped  at the Kakizawa 柿澤 family kokeshi shop on the way up the hill. It's a really nice shop, and the Naruko-style kokeshis of 72-year old Mr. Kakizawa Koretaka 柿澤是隆, his wife Mariko 眞里子, and son Yoshinobu 是伸 are absolutely exquisite. Oddly, like last year we went in, were offered tea and pickled vegetables, perused the kokeshis, made some purchases, and then when Naoko drew a slip of paper for the chance to win something she won another beautiful full-size Kakizawa kokeshi. That's exactly what happened last year too!
Naoko is chatting with the elder Mr. Kakizawa. The kokeshi down on the left next to the fan is the one that Naoko won. 
Inside the shop with all those beautiful kokeshis. That's my father-in-law in the middle sitting patiently -- he was a good sport as we dragged him throughout kokeshi-land.
Some standard Kakizawa kokeshis, and some Hina kokeshis as well.
Look Mom. I won a kokeshi!
After saying goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Kakizawa with our bag full of kokeshis we continued up the mountain and eventually arrived at a small, bright blue crater lake called Katanuma 潟沼. We stopped here last year of course, and it is so beautiful, and so interesting geologically that I will go to this lake every time we visit Naruko.
Katanuma, a small crater lake in the hills above Naruko Onsen. We had had really nice weather when we got to the lake.
It was worth going up to the lake just to see the steam vents like this.
Here's a close up of a steam vent covered with sulfer. It's not a cave -- just a small hole.
As I like to point out, kokeshi-themed signs and symbols can be found throughout kokeshi towns such as Naruko. The following pictures show this nicely.
On the way back down the hill we crossed the river and I spotted this road sign and bridge.

I'm pretty sure this represents a kokeshi head.
I also found this old, decaying phone booth with a giant kokeshi head on top. It would probably get more attention if people still used public phones.

Next blog: The Naruko Kokeshi Museum!


  1. Hi! discover your blog just yesterday and I already read it all! it's amazing and really interesting! I'm new to the kokeshi world, I just bought my first one, butI find them wonderfull! I add you to my fave blog, so I can read about your adventure in kokeshis world! a big hallo to you ad your family!

  2. Hello and thank you for your nice comments. Yes, the kokeshi world truly is amazing and interesting, and all the moreso as you get to know it more. By all means try to make a trip to Japan in the future and head north to Tohoku and visit the kokeshi makers -- you'll be pleased that you did!