|The first shop we encountered was shuttered.|
|Ah, a kokeshi bridge. Always a good sign that kokeshis are nearby.|
|Fresh paint -- another good sign.|
|Another closed kokeshi shop.|
As we drove along admiring Mt. Zao we went around a corner and up a sharp incline, and at the top was the Kokeshi Village. Finally. And, hurray! The Yajiro Kokeshi Mura main building is definitely distinctive, being perfectly circular and resembling a gigantic wooden yurt. There was no entrance fee, so we strolled right in. The inside is very pleasant with exposed wooden beams on the second floor, and an open courtyard in the center. There were some rooms for workshops, a small restaurant of some sort, and a very nice gift shop with lots and lots of (mainly) Yajiro-type kokeshis 弥次郎系こけし and kokeshi souvenirs. There weren't very many people though, guests or workers, so we basically had the place to ourselves. However, rather than do some shopping at this point we heading downstairs and out back to the "village" area; i.e., where the kokeshi makers have their workshops.
|Walking to the main building with Mt. Zao in the background.|
|Yajiro kokeshis for sale.|
|The girls playing with tops.|
|A small display of Yajiro kokeshis on the building's first floor.|
|The back side of the main building. Those rocks are pretty large and became a good climbing spot for the girls.|
Below are a few of the kokeshi workshops in a circle behind the main building.
By the way, there was even a Kokeshi Shrine where there is apparently an annual ceremony of some sort for kokeshi makers. That must be pretty interesting to see.