Kokeshi Dolls

From the tales of Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan, comes top-rated Kokeshi dolls individually hand crafted by artisans. Join us as we discover the art and meaning behind the making & gifting of each doll

Kokeshi (こけし, 小芥子), are wooden Japanese dolls that have been crafted for more than 150 years as a toy for children. There are many stories of how the naming came upon, however, the origin remains unclear. A popular explanation suggests …

Creation of Maebashi Kokeshi doll from scratch – From choosing the wood to applying special kirikane techniques 

Kokeshi dolls are often made using Mizuki and Cherry wood. Many artisans in Maebashi choose to work with Mizuki because it is soft and white, thus easier for carving and painting. Some also choose other types of wood that give …

Modern Maebashi Kokeshi Dolls as Evergreen Keepsake Gifts

In Japan, the Kokeshi dolls do not just function as a souvenir. With the doll evolving into modern designs in Maebashi, they can now take the shape of many characters or incorporate creative designs as well… 

Kokeshi dolls have long been famous as souvenirs that were sold at hot-springs where there was a lot of high-quality wood and where people would go to heal their bodies. It is said that kokeshi dolls originated in the late Edo Period (beginning of the 19th century) as dolls that children would play with.

The Artisans

Yuji Okamoto

The eldest son of the first Usaburo. Born in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture in 1948. Studied under his father from the age of 22.


Yachiyo Ishisone

Born in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture in 1952. Studied under the first Usaburo from the age of 22. Expressing people's daily lives with smooth shapes and soft lines. The popular work "Happy Buddha" was born from customer feedback.


Toa Sekiguchi

Born and raised in Shibukawa City in Gunma prefecture, Toa Sekiguchi lives and works with his family who also create Sosaku Kokeshi with him.


Yoshihiro Okamoto

The eldest son of the second generation Usaburo. Born in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture in 1972. Studied under the first Usaburo from the age of 20.


Maebashi is the capital city of Gunma Prefecture, Japan and is known to be the “City of Water, Greenery and Poets” because of its pure waters, its rich nature and because it gave birth to several Japanese contemporary poets. It is in close proximity to Tokyo and offers many unique and beautiful sight-seeing opportunities. While you’re at Maebashi, be sure to try out their local cuisine and get yourself a Kokeshi doll as a souvenir too! 

The Shirakaba Ranch has become a place where untouched nature remains by utilizing the vast site that was the former Maebashi Domain ranch. Approximately 100,000 Japanese azaleas are in full bloom from early June to mid-June, Read More 

Pig farming is popular in the southern foothills of Mt. Akagi, which is surrounded by magnificent nature. Please enjoy the dishes made with high quality pork grown under the special feed and hygiene control. Read More

Akagi Onuma is one of the few spots in the Kanto region where you can enjoy smelt fishing on ice. One of the pleasures is to fry and eat freshly caught smelt in a different space on the ice that is completely frozen. Read More

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