Futaba Dharma Market in Iwaki, Jan. 8, 2022. 双葉达磨市在磐城。双葉ダルマ市(いわき)2022年1月8日。

(# Futaba Dharma Market, Iwaki, Jan. 8, 2022. #双葉ダルマ市 いわき 1/8/2022)
Today I visited Futaba Dharma Market in Iwaki. The market has a long history of 300 years since the Edo period. The town of Futaba has been evacuated right after Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March, 2011. People of Futaba continued the traditional market at their sheltering place: Iwaki. Because the town is expecting the lifting of evacuation order in June this year, the next year’s event will be held at their hometown. A photo above was a gigantic Dharma doll appeared at the venue.

Tug-of-war event was held with this gigantic Dharma placed in the center and local people divided into east and west groups competed telling the new year’s harvest and businesses according to the results.

Here is a very short 14-sec. video of tug-of-war that gives you the atmosphere on site.

(# Futaba Dharma Market, Iwaki, Jan. 8, 2022. #双葉ダルマ市 いわき 1/8/2022)
Another photo above gives you the festive mood at the venue.

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I purchased a medium-sized Futaba Dharma doll as shown above. The distinctive feature is a blue fringe around the face meaning the Pacific Ocean blue. This market once a year is the only chance to buy this special Dharma. Futaba Dharma dolls are manufactured at Watanabe dharma workshop in Shirakawa.

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The venue of the market today was at the center of Nakoso-Sakai public reconstruction housing complex in Iwaki, where many of the evacuees from Futaba are now living. You can see some of those houses close to the venue in a picture above. Temporary Futaba town office is located close to JR Ueda Station. The town provided free shuttle bus service between the market venue and near the station. I used the service.

The exact route and locations are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

Traditional New Year decorations, Iwaki, January 22, 2021. (日本伝統の正月飾り いわき市暮らしの伝承郷 2021年1月22日。)

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(#New Year decoration, Kurashi-no-Denshogo, Iwaki, Jan. 22, 2021. #伝統の正月飾り 暮らしの伝承郷 いわき1/22/2021)
Today I visited Kurashi-no-Denshogo Museum in Iwaki City. They are having special exhibition on traditional Japanese New Year decorations until the end of January in lunar calendar. Photo above was one of them in Igari Family house built in early Meiji period.

At Kurashi-no-Denshogo Museum old houses are moved to here for preservation of tradition from late Edo to early Meiji period, some 150 years ago. All the houses were from local districts of Iwaki area. Photo above shows a map of the old house zone.

Each family has its distinctive style of New Year decoration as shown below.

Photo above shows New Year decoration at Kawaguchi Family house.

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(#New Year decoration, Kurashi-no-Denshogo, Iwaki, Jan. 22, 2021. #伝統の正月飾り 暮らしの伝承郷 いわき1/22/2021)
Photo above shows that of Takagi Family house from late Edo period accompanied by Iwaki Dharma dolls.

Photo shows one of the old houses, Kawaguchi Family house built in 1871.

On the earth floor of Kawaguchi Family house, I found an extraordinary New Year decoration as shown above. It stood from the ground right up to a roof beam, decorated with pine and nandina branches as well as zigzag-shaped sacred paper.

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(#Shichifukujin, Kurashi-no-Denshogo, Iwaki, Jan. 22, 2021. #七福神 デコ屋敷 暮らしの伝承郷 いわき1/22/2021)
A set of masks of Shichifukujin or seven lucky gods was placed at one of the houses as shown above. These were made at Dekoyashiki workshop in Koriyama.

(#Iwaki Enobori flag, Kurashi-no-Denshogo, Iwaki, Jan. 22, 2021. #いわき絵のぼり 暮らしの伝承郷 いわき1/22/2021) 
Near the reception of the museum I found a display of traditional Iwaki Enobori flag as shown above. The flag, made more than 100 years ago, looked really powerful.

The exact route and location are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

Dharma dolls and Hina dolls at Shirakawa, February 18, 2020. (だるまと雛人形の展示、白河、2020年2月18日。)

(Hina dolls, Shirakawa, February 18, 2020. 江戸の古今雛 白河 2/18/2020)
An excellent exhibition is being held in Shirakawa City, where a variety of Dharma dolls across the country as well as local traditional hina dolls are on display. The exhibition venue is Shirakawa History and Folk Archives Hall, located about 30-minute walk from JR Shirakawa Station. I visited there today and a photo above was a beautiful pair of hina dolls called Kokinbina made in late Edo period and handed down through a wealthy merchant family in Tanagura. This exhibition continues through March 10th and admission is free.

(Hina dolls, Shirakawa, February 18, 2020. 江戸の古今雛 白河 2/18/2020)
Another Kokinbina set which was on display was shown above. This was passed down from Edo period at a merchant family in Shirakawa.

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(Hina dolls, Shirakawa, February 18, 2020. 江戸の享保雛 白河 2/18/2020)
A pair of hina dolls shown above is called Kyohobina which was made earlier than Kokinbina in Edo period. A record shows this was purchased by a wealthy merchant in Shirakawa in 1833.

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(Hina dolls, Shirakawa, February 18, 2020. 江戸の享保雛 白河 2/18/2020)
A set of hina dolls of seven family members is shown above. This was also traditional Kyohobina set.

A brief explanation of Kyohobina and Kokinbina in Japanese was on site as shown above.

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(Dharma dolls, across Japan, February 18, 2020. 福島と全国のだるま 2/18/2020)
In the adjacent corner, Dharma dolls’ exhibition was there. A variety of Dharma dolls from different regions in and out of Fukushima were on display as shown in the photo above. On the upper part of the display, Dharma dolls from Fukushima Prefecture were placed including those from Shirakawa, Miharu, and others. In the lower part, Dharma dolls from outside of Fukushima were shown including those from Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku, Chubu regions, and etc.

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(Yanome Dharma, Fukushima, February 18, 2020. 矢の目だるま 福島市 2/18/2020)
Photo above shows Yanome Dharma from Fukushima City, which belongs to the same family as Miharu Dharma.

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(Aizu Dharma, Aizuwakamatsu, February 18, 2020. 会津だるま 会津若松 2/18/2020)
Photo above shows two kinds of Aizu Dharma dolls, both are from Aizuwakamatsu.

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(Dake Dharma, Nihonmatsu, February 18, 2020. 岳だるま 二本松 2/18/2020)
Photo above shows Dake Dharma from Nihonmatsu, which was made from wood.

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(Dharma dolls, Tohoku and Kanto, February 18, 2020. 東北と関東のだるま 2/18/2020)
Photo above shows Dharma dolls from outside Fukushima, mainly from Tohoku and Kanto regions.

(Dharma dolls, Hokuriku and Chubu, February 18, 2020. 北陸と中部のだるま 2/18/2020)
Photo above shows Dharma dolls from outside Fukushima, mainly from Hokuriku and Chubu regions.

Origin of Dharma doll and the history of Dharma doll in Shirakawa are explained above which was at the site. According to this, the origin was a great Buddhist priest Dharma from India. And making Dharma dolls in Shirakawa started in the late 1700’s under the distinguished Shirakawa domain lord Matsudaira Sadanobu.

On the way back to JR Shirakawa Station, I stopped at Kominejo Castle History Museum located in the back of the station as shown above.

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The museum was renovated recently and new diorama for Kominejo Castle was on display in the center of the 1st floor as shown above. The photo shows mainly the central part of the castle ground (honmaru), the surrounding stone walls, buffer area (obikuruwa), and the adjacent outer part (ninomaru). A 10-minute virtual reality large screen video was available to experience the scene back in Edo period.

A portable shrine for Kashima Shrine was also on display as shown above.

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Kashima Shrine has been the main shrine for the lords of Shirakawa area. The portable shrine has been used on the occasion of annual lantern festival every other year. This was explained in the panel on site shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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