Tohoku craftsmanship

  • Published on : 17/10/2019
  • by : O.F.
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L'artisanat traditionnel du Tohoku - les poupées Kokeshi

Traditional Tohoku crafts - Kokeshi dolls

Tohoku tourist office

Japanese ancestral traditions through craftsmanship

Tohoku is the most rural region of Japan. Located north of the main island of the Japanese archipelago, Honshu has its own cultural identity and traditions passed down from generations for years. Among these traditions rooted in the life and history of Tohoku, discover the Japanese craftsmanship specific to this region!

Kokeshi dolls

The famous Kokeshi dolls originate from Miyagi Prefecture. They were made in the late Edo period (1603-1868) as toys for children in hot springs. Since Tohoku has many natural hot springs and Onsen, these little dolls quickly spread throughout the region.

These wooden dolls without arms or legs have an enlarged round head and are usually painted red, black, and yellow. Don't be fooled by their simplistic appearance as there are 11 different kinds of kokeshi dolls in the Tohoku region, nearly half of which originate from Miyagi Prefecture.

To discover these traditional dolls, go to one of the spas in the region such as Naruko Onsen, which also has a museum dedicated to kokeshi. It is about 45 min from Furukawa Station, which connects to the Tohoku Shinkansen. Little more, you can go to Naruko Onsen using the Japan Rail Pass!

Naruko Kokeshi

Naruko Kokeshi

Tohoku tourist office

The region's ironwork workshops are renowned for their kitchen utensils and other everyday household objects, but also and above all for iron teapots, popular all over the world and a flagship object of this art.

These teapots are carefully cast and lacquered and what makes them special is that their interiors are burnt over a charcoal fire for about an hour to prevent rust and ensure a long life.

Each craftsman is free to create the pattern that suits them best on the outside of the teapots, you will find different types depending on the workshop

Nanbu Tekki

Nanbu Tekki

Public domain

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