Friday, October 3, 2014

2014 National Kokeshi Festival part 8 2014 全国こけし祭り8

The previous seven blogs fully showcased the National Kokeshi Festival, but I did want to devote an entry to Naruko Onsen and the kokeshi culture that permeates that town. It's really a lot of fun, and I cannot recommend enough for anyone interested in kokeshis to go and stay there. I know I showed a few of these things a couple years ago, but they're so cool that I can't help showing them again. Enjoy!
This might be my favorite discovery from the festival. It's a Traffic Safety Prayer sticker for your car, available for 500 yen at the Naruko Town Onsen Shrine. It was worth every yen, and will be going on our car in the near future! 
This was an inn we saw while driving a back road in Naruko. I love the sign.
Close up view.
A sign showing kokeshi-cats in Naruko. Or are they cat-kokeshis?
This young lady is Ms. Hoashi Kanoko ほあしかのこさん, a comic book artist who draws stories about taking travel adventures throughout Japan. She is apparently a fellow kokeshi enthusiast and has done at least one volume on a kokeshi adventure. I also got the feeling that what she experienced at the Naruko festival will make it into an upcoming manga.
Mr. Yamada, our friend from the Tsugaru Kokeshi Kan in Aomori Prefecture had a very nice booth packed with kokeshi goods.
Kokeshi books and magazines for sale.
This is an older shop in downtown Naruko. The name translates as "A Shop Where Kokeshis are Made." Perfect.
Interior view of A Shop Where Kokeshis are Made. Unfortunately I don't think anyone is actually making kokeshis here anymore.
Human-sized Naruko kokeshis welcoming revelers to the festival.
The Naruko Town post office. Oh! What's that in front?
Yes, the post office converted its mailbox into a giant Naruko kokeshi. I wouldn't mind having one of these.
Another angle.
Another kokeshi maker's shop. They're everywhere in town.
These kokeshi manhole covers are all over town. I'm telling you, Naruko is serious about its kokeshis.
Naruko's main street.
A freshly-painted welcome kokeshi outside the Naruko train station.
A poster at the train station.
Kokeshis available at the train station shop. Yes, those a Hello Kitty Naruko kokeshis, a very cool mashup I must say.

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