After a couple of hours at the main Kokeshi Festival venue we visited a crater lake and then headed up to the Japan Kokeshi Kan 日本こけし館, a museum of traditional kokeshis with a small gift shop and a lathe for visiting kokeshi makers to demonstrate their craft. I've been here before and it's ok, though still worth a visit since it's a kokeshi museum. Even better was that, as with previous years, it was free to enter during the Kokeshi Festival, and there was also the big antique kokeshi auction. You can see some of what was available below.
After spending about an hour at the Japan Kokeshi Kan we headed further into the hills to see a bit of nature. We stopped at the new Naruko Gorge Rest House 鳴子峡レストハウス and besides the great view there was a shop with a surprising number of kokeshis and kokeshi-related goods!
As we drove back to the Kokeshi Matsuri we spotted an inn with a cool kokeshi-themed sign, and then saw a sign with a cat-kokeshi hybrid design that I liked. And of course we passed various kokeshi makers' shops. It's not an exaggeration to say that one cannot escape the influence of kokeshis in Naruko.
So that was our little foray into the nearby mountains, and as I've shown kokeshis were everywhere. We then drove back to the main venue, which I'll discuss further in the next blog.
|The entry sign for the Japan Kokeshi Kan.|
|Kokeshi auction room.|
|The kokeshi auction floor. Those are all kokeshis, and there must have been a couple thousand in the room. There were also lots of kokeshi fans checking them out.|
|More auction kokeshis.|
|Even more kokeshis, all wrapped neatly in Saran Wrap.|
|A kokeshi maker was at work when we visited, though I didn't catch his name.|
|A view of the Japan Kokeshi Kan's giant kokeshi. I think there are at least six giant kokeshis, as well as some human-sized kokeshis in Naruko.|
|Another view with the Kokeshi Kan in the background.|
|The kokeshi monument.|
|The Naruko Gorge Rest House.|
|The kokeshi area -- very well stocked.|
|Kokeshi beer called "The Wind of Naruko" 鳴子の風.|
|Kokeshi makers' shops like this one are everywhere in Naruko, though it helps to have a car if you want to pay some of them a visit.|