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Kokeshi

Be charmed by traditional Japanese wooden dolls

Sakurai Kokeshi in Tohoku is a family-run business that has handcrafted wooden kokeshi for five generations. These minimalist dolls originate from this northern region and have been popular with Japanese children for more than 150 years. The finely painted dolls have a head and torso, but no limbs. They are lathed from pegs of hardwood, sanded, painted, and then coated in a wax layer to protect the decoration. The Sakurai family has been practicing this art since the Edo era in Naruko, which was a significant center of production. Other towns in the area, such as Zao Onsen, Yonezawa, and Iizaka Onsen have their own styles.
Kokeshi have become something of a collector’s item, with pieces painted by particularly skilled artists considered high art. Sakurai Kokeshi keeps this charming tradition alive, sharing the history and producing collectible and nostalgic pieces. The Sakurai family works to create pieces that are firmly rooted in tradition and those inspired by modern life. The family’s production space is open for visitors, and those with an artistic flair can even try their hand at painting a kokeshi they can take home.
26 Yumoto, Naruko-onsen, Osaki-shi, Miyagi

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