During our big Tohoku kokeshi adventure back in April we first went to Hanamaki City in Iwate Prefecture as discussed in the previous blog. The next day we headed south to Yamagata Prefecture山形県, and from there headed west to Nishikawa Village 西川村 located in a valley in the center of some huge mountains blocking the way to the Sea of Japan. Even though it was April and spring had arrived in much of Japan, the mountains of Yamagata were still covered in deep snow and when we got off the highway to go Nishikawa I was amazed to find that we were driving through snowbanks higher than our minivan. Incredible!
|Still lots of snow.|
|That's Emily scrambling up the wall of snow in Nishikawa Village.|
Our destination was the kokeshi workshop of Mr. Shida Kikuhiro 志田菊宏さん who makes Yamagata-style kokeshis 山形系こけし that I explored in a blog post a few months ago. We arrived a bit earlier than our appointment so we found a small inn in the village where we ate a delicious lunch of cold soba and mountain-vegetable tempura -- the owner had just gathered the vegetables and had large bags of them sitting in the doorway! After lunch we drove to the kokeshi shop and Mr. Shida welcomed us in for some coffee and a chat about kokeshis and life in the mountains.
|The sign for Mr. Shida's shop which is a cafe and kokeshi showroom.|
|Naoko chatting with Mr. Shida about kokeshis.|
|These three are all stunning, and we got the tall one on the right.|
|I got that beauty on the right. I also like the white one on the left but did not get it on this trip.|