2024 All-Japan Kokeshi Doll Competition

2024 All-Japan Kokeshi Doll Competition

From May 3rd to 5th this year, the All-Japan Kokeshi Doll Competition was held in Shiroishi City, Miyagi.
This is the largest kokeshi festival in Japan, where kokeshi artisans compete to showcase their finest skills. The competition is a popular event that draws kokeshi fans from all over Japan, as the artisans present their most exquisite kokeshi dolls.


Official Web Site: https://alljapan-kokeshi.com/


The venue, White Cube, is conveniently located a 5-minute walk from Shiroishi-Zao Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen line.

White Cube
2-1-1 Takanosu Higashi, Shiroishi, Miyagi
Tel: 0224-22-1290
Email: whitecube@shiro-f.jp


I arrived at the venue the day before the event and, as usual, arranged the chairs.



The main attraction is the numbered tickets distributed from 7:30 AM the following morning.
When I returned to the venue early that morning, I was met with a long line of eager attendees.



At 7:30 AM, ticket distribution began. There are two types of tickets: one for purchasing the kokeshi dolls entered in the competition (referred to as “shinsahin”) and another for purchasing kokeshi dolls prepared by the invited artisans for direct sale (referred to as “sokubaihin”).
This year, due to the presence of popular artisans like Naoko Honma, many people were particularly keen to get tickets for the direct sale.

The invited artisans for 2024 were as follows.
Tsugaru type: Naoko Honma
Kijiyama type: Fumio Miharu
Hijiori type: Seiichi Suzuki
Zao Takayu type: Keiji Tanaka
Sakunami type: Teruyuki Hiraga
Naruko type: Yoshinobu Kakizawa
Togatta type: Yoshimi Koyama
Tsuchiyu type: Kojun Ota
Nakanosawa type: Koji Seya, Yumiko Sekine


Fumio Miharu

Yoshinobu Kakizawa


Koji Seya


The opening ceremony featured a calligraphy performance by local high school students. Additionally, there was an award for the kokeshi fan who arrived the earliest, having been in Shiroishi City for about two weeks prior to the event—a dedication I could never match!


Opening Ceremony


Entry to the sales area was allowed in order of the ticket numbers, at one-minute intervals. Each person could buy up to two competition kokeshi dolls and three direct sale kokeshi dolls.




As I purchase many kokeshi dolls for my work, I repeatedly obtained tickets and queued up again and again.
Despite the pleasant spring weather, the excitement and activity left me sweating.



There were many wonderful kokeshi dolls!
It was a lot of fun just to look at them. I wish I could buy them all!



Since the competition kokeshi dolls are displayed throughout the event, after choosing and paying for the desired dolls, buyers can arrange for home delivery, though international shipping is likely not available.

In addition to kokeshi dolls, the event also features the sale of local specialties from Shiroishi City and light snacks like dango. Once you’ve purchased your kokeshi dolls, take a break and enjoy the rest of the festival!



The venue is also conveniently located for visiting other kokeshi attractions such as Yajiro Kokeshi Village and the Zao Kokeshi Museum, making it worth exploring these sites if you have the chance to attend the event.

Zao Kokeshi Museum Official Web Site

Yajiro Kokeshi Village Official Instagram

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