Miyagi: Traditional kokeshi dolls on display at Naruko Onsen

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors look for kokeshi dolls with different expressions in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sept. 3.

OSAKI, Miyagi — The annual All Japan Kokeshi Festival was held in the Naruko Onsen area in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sept. 3-4.

Kokeshi are wooden dolls with cylindrical bodies and round heads.

The festival, which brings together traditional kokeshi dolls, was held for the first time in three years due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Many visitors came to find kokeshi dolls that appeal to them.

The main event venue was the gymnasium of Naruko Elementary School. Award-winning kokeshi dolls from the festival’s contest were on display, and kokeshi doll-making sessions were also held. Many models were also available for purchase. The winner of the highest prize, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Award (National Kokeshi Festival Chairman’s Award), was Minae Kamata from Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture. The Yomiuri Shimbun Award was picked up by Naomichi Sakurai, a resident of Osaki.

Yoshiko Miyazaki, 44, an office worker from Saitama who visited the festival with her parents, said: “I chose a cute and beautiful kokeshi doll. It was nice to be able to talk with the creator while buying the kokeshi.”