Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Festival 2024

Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Festival 2024


The Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Festival was held on June 1st and 2nd, 2024.
This charming event takes place in the picturesque Tsuchiyu Onsen in Fukushima Prefecture, featuring kokeshi doll sales, artisan talks, and a warm, community atmosphere.


Tsuchiyu Onsen Official Website:  https://www.tcy.jp/


Driving to Tsuchiyu Onsen is highly recommended. If you prefer public transportation, it's about a 40-minute bus ride from Fukushima Station.



No tickets are required for the kokeshi sales.
As usual, I went to set up my chair the day before, and with fewer than ten chairs ahead of me, I was optimistic about getting into the sales area early.

The next morning, I arrived to find about 100 people lined up. I was so glad I had come the day before! I silently cheered to myself.

Tsuchiyu Onsen has many inns, so staying overnight to enjoy the hot springs and delicious food is a great idea. However, there are very few restaurants that serve dinner, so booking a meal-inclusive plan at an inn is advisable.



The kokeshi dolls are sold by Tsuchiyu kokeshi artisans and invited craftsmen.
This year's participating artisans included:

Hideyuki Sato (Yajiro style)
Naomi Umeki (Zaotakayu)
Morizo Susumago (Nanbu)
Yasuo Okazaki (Naruko)
Osamu Sugawara (Naruko)
Kikuhiro Shida, Kaede Shida (Zaotakayu)
Keji Tanaka (Zaotakayu)
Mayumi Niiyama, Yoshinori Niiyama (Yajiro)
Kunitoshi Abe (Tsuchiyu)
Yukinori Jinnohara  (Tsuchiyu)
Takashi Watanabe (Tsuchiyu)
Toshihiko Nishiyama (Tsuchiyu)
Akihiro Konno  (Tsuchiyu)
Mikiko Noji  (Tsuchiyu)
Koujun Ota  (Tsuchiyu)
Yoshimasa Iwatsuki  (Tsuchiyu)


The opening ceremony, featuring lengthy speeches by the mayor and council members, was a bit tedious, likely due to the upcoming elections.



The kokeshi sales started at 10:30.
People rushed into the venue in the order they lined up, and the atmosphere quickly became electric!
There were no purchase limits, allowing attendees to grab as many kokeshi dolls as they wanted.


It gets quite hot, and to prevent the dolls from getting wet, gloves are a smart accessory. I didn’t wear gloves and ended up with red dye on my hands from the kokeshi. Lesson learned.



After buying your kokeshi, enjoy the kokeshi painting experience!
You can even enter your painted kokeshi into a contest judged by the artisans, with prizes for the winners. I’ve won before, though the competition was sparse.



Additionally, there are live painting sessions and talks by kokeshi artisans.
A walk rally lets you explore the town and enjoy the festival at your own pace.



Coinciding with the Tsuchiyu Kokeshi Festival, there’s a special annual sale at the shop of Tadao Watanabe, famous for his top hat kokeshi dolls.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to acquire these highly sought-after dolls!
I’ll cover this sale in more detail in another post.

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