Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Journey to Hiyane in Kanda 神田のひやねの旅

Immediately following the 23 November Tokyo Kokeshi Tomo no Kai meeting (discussed in the previous blog) a friend and I headed to Hiyane ひやね, one of the few shops in Tokyo dealing in traditional kokeshis. The word was out among the fellow collectors that something interesting was going on there, so we felt compelled to see it. We had been to Hiyane before, most memorably for the taping of an episode of a TV show about kokeshi collectors on NHK (click to see a blog entry about it) back in July 2012. Hiyane, located in the Kanda section of Tokyo, is interesting since the first floor sells used books while the second floor is devoted to new and used traditional kokeshis. I believe it's also where the most hardcore enthusiasts meet to discuss kokeshis, but I'll have to check on that.
The entrance to Hiyane. Don't let the used books on the first floor fool you -- just walk through and then up the stairs to get to the kokeshis!
To be honest we were already fairly overwhelmed by the Tomo no Kai meeting, but decided that we had to see what was going on at Hiyane since it was only about a five-minute walk away. We headed upstairs and found that there was an exhibition and sale of new kokeshis going on featuring Tako Bozu たこぼうず and Togatta kokeshis  遠刈田系こけし. There were some really great pieces as you'll see below.
New Tako Bozu kokeshis.
Not only that but famous Togatta kokeshi craftsman Mr. Sato Kazuo 佐藤一夫さん was actually there meeting guests. For some reason I didn't make the connection between him and his kokeshis (we visited he and his wife's shop in the Togatta Kokeshi Village back in 2012), but he did let me take a picture of him with his kokeshis. His work is absolutely beautiful and of the highest quality I must say.
Master kokeshi craftsman Mr. Sato Kazuo.
Some Sato kokeshis for sale.
And more. I really like those two giant ones -- I wonder how much they were?
I think that any other time I would have been thrilled to be at Hiyane and meet with a craftsman, but having spent a few hours at the Tomo no Kai meeting where I had already bought a number of kokeshis, well, it was more than I could handle. So after a quick look we said goodbye to Hiyane and Mr. Sato and headed out. But that said, if you're in downtown Tokyo and would like to get some very nice traditional kokeshis then Hiyane is where you'll want to go. Here's the address, so just pop it into your phone's map and you'll be there in no time: 千代田区内神田2-10-2 .
A shot night shot of Kanda from the JR train platform.
My friend and I went to get some coffee at Starbucks and then bid farewell as I lugged my haul of kokeshis to the JR station and back home to the suburbs. It was good day in Kanda that's for sure. 

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