|Welcome to Akiu Onsen!|
As for being a kokeshi adventure Akiu Onsen was, frankly, something of a dud. Of course we had just spent a couple days in Sakunami and Sendai, and had just visited the Akiu Traditional Arts Center, but compared to other kokeshi towns Akiu just doesn't have quite the same feeling. Perhaps this is because there weren't kokeshi-themed signage and manhole covers and lanterns and artwork throughout the town, though we did discover a pair of giant Akiu kokeshis leading into the onsen area. Of course all of this is pretty subjective, so by all means go and visit Akiu and see for yourself.
Even if Akiu Onsen was something of a disappointment, overall our Sakunami-Sendai-Akiu adventure was first class, and we came back with a nice haul of kokeshis and wonderful memories of that beautiful area. Best of all was meeting more kokeshi makers whose dedication to their craft makes our adventures possible!
|Kokeshi shop -- closed.|
|Hey, a kokeshi sign! But the shop was closed.|
|Mr. Sato's shop. The sign says "Akiu Kokeshi." See, there is such a thing as an Akiu kokeshi.|
|Inside Mr. Sato's shop.|
|While not exactly kokeshis, these were very clever.|
|Mr. Sato's miniature collection. These were amazing.|
|An Akiu Kokeshi with wooden rings. The rings cannot be removed and are created as part of the lathing process. So, how does he do the painting under the rings?|
|We bought one of these little guys. It's tiny, but it's a traditional Akiu Kokeshi -- the only one in our collection.|
|These were actually kokeshi nesting dolls. As I recall, about 20,000 yen each.|
|I'm not sure I like this, but it is innovative.|