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.

Handayama Park and happy smile kokeshi at Kori, April 28, 2019. (桑折 の 半田山公園 と笑顔のこけし「よろこんで」 2019年4月28日)

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Today I visited Kori Town for the 2nd weekend in a row. Last week I climbed Mt. Handa (863m) and enjoyed the heart lake view. This time I walked around Handa Pond at the foot of the mountain. Photo above was a pond view from the northern path nestled with spring greenery and late cherry blossoms.

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I also found some spring alpine plants. One of them was Shiraneaoi or Glaucidium palmatum flowers just started to bloom as shown above. It’s been endangered because of stealing recently.

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Another one was Nirinso or anemone flaccida flowers, as shown above, already in full bloom on the western slope.

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(A happy smile kokeshi from local workshop, Kori, April 28, 2019. こけし「よろこんで」香村工芸 桑折町4/28/2019)
I used JR Kori Station to get to Handayama Park, where Handa Pond and Mt. Handa were located. Inside Kori Station there was a display corner called Peach Plaza for local handicrafts and specialties. One item, which was a wooden kokeshi handicraft with attractive and healing smile as shown above, drew my attention last week. And this afternoon I decided to visit the workshop which made it.

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The workshop, which was called “Koson-kogei” as shown above, was located about 20 minute walk from Kori Station. The director told me the heart behind the creation of this smiling kokeshi. At the display corner of the workshop, as shown above, some other different samples of similar design were exhibited. The one which attracted me was not currently distributed to retailers and people can purchase only at this workshop or by delivery service. I got some today.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20190428桑折半田沼他 (560x420)

Brilliant ‘tsurushibina’ decorations at Hanawa, Feb. 21, 2019. (塙 の華麗な つるし雛 2019年2月21日)

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Traditional ‘tsurushibina’ or hanging decorations for girls’ festival are being publicly displayed at some of the locations in Fukushima in this time of year. Hanawa Town is one of them. Photo above shows tsurushibina exhibition at Community Plaza inside the Iwakihanawa Station building of JR Suigun Line. Each of the hanging pieces was made by handicraft quilting using scrap cloth. A group of local women volunteers called ‘Quiltmate Hanawa’ made all of these. Actually this tradition had spread across Japan in late Edo Period and was passed down to this day.

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Photo above was taken from a different angle and you can see the whole hanging structure from above. This exhibit continues through March 3rd which is the girls’ festival day. JR Iwakihanawa Station is about 1.5hr train ride from Koriyama.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
Welcome to Fukushima 2020 
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