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“Kokeshi Heaven!”

Tsugaru Traditional Crafts Museum
Ranked #2 of 23 things to do in Kuroishi
Attraction details
Yokohama, Japan
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
“Kokeshi Heaven!”
Reviewed 14 August 2014

During a recent trip to Hirosaki, we spend the afternoon visiting the Tsugaru Traditional Crafts Museum in Kurioshi, Aomori. The main feature of this museum is the creation and display of kokeshi dolls of all shapes and sizes. Kokeshi dolls are traditional Japanese dolls made from wood and painted with various designs. They originated some 200 plus years ago in the Tohoku region and today, many people like to collect them. At this centre, you can purchase the widest selection of kokeshi dolls I have ever seen. For about 300 yen, you can also see the museum upstairs with its extensive display of kokeshi dolls. There would have been several thousands of dolls of different designs and sizes in the museum alone. There is also a craftsman on site making and painting kokeshi dolls which is fascinating to watch. For an additional fee of around 1000 yen, you can paint your own basic kokeshi doll. The first floor also houses one of the biggest wooden kokeshi dolls I have ever seen. There are also lots of kokeshi shaped paper floor and ceiling lanterns.

The museum is about 35km out of Hirosaki. You can catch a bus there from the train station. The museum is located near a river and bridge which in itself is very picturesque. Next to the museum is a shopping area in traditional style wooden buildings which sell a mix of traditional Japanese crafts and Japanese foods and sweets including apple flavored ice cream since the area is famous for its apples. There is also a small outdoor but undercover footbath area where you can sit and bathe your tired feet after a busy day of sightseeing.

Whilst the array of kokeshi dolls is extensive, they are not cheap! I tend to buy buy my dolls from flea markets held around Tokyo on the weekends where you can pick up dolls for significantly lower prices.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank CathCPerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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25 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Dumas, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“So many beautiful treasures to buy~!”
Reviewed 21 February 2013 via mobile

I loved all of the beautiful treasures made in these wonderful art shops. Many different items are known for only being made in this area. I wanted to buy so many unique items so beautifully made. Knowing my mom has old family pieces I refrained from buying~! I did pick up a few gifts. I had to buy another suitcase to put all of a months worth of purchases~!

Thank Risa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Tsugaru Kokeshi Museum”
Reviewed 26 December 2012

Spent a morning here in late August - it was sweltering but this was a great place nonetheless! We participated in a workshop to paint our own kokeshi dolls, it was a lot of fun. The instructor told us a bit about the different traditional designs and then we painted our dolls however we chose. My two-year-old daughter was upset that she couldn't paint her own doll, I think the age limit was 4? In any case, the workshop was relatively short so she cheered up when we got walking again. We strolled among the cute souvenir shops which contained so many beautifully handcrafted goods! There were even some areas where you could watch the items being made. We settled into one of the on-site restaurants for a leisurely lunch, with standard but yummy Japanese fare - ebi tempura and curry. After eating we dipped our toes in the foot onsen that flows through the outdoor area but it was much too hot to be enjoyable this time of year, to my daughter's disappointment. We cooled off again in the shade with the best cone of apple ice cream I have ever had! Aomori Prefecture rightly deserves it's fame for apples. I wanted to buy all the souvenirs I saw... beautiful kokeshi dolls, hand carved wooden puzzles and children's toys, so much more - but we finally selected some fresh baked pistachio nanbu senbei crackers to bring home. Overall this was a great, mellow family activity, one of my favorite daytrips in Aomori!

Visited August 2012
Thank braybrigade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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