Hiraga Teruyuki / Master of Kokeshi
In Sakunami Japan
This was our first visit ever to a kokeshi master in Japan. We got off the train from Sakunami station. We were totally in the middle of thick, green mountains with the sound of cicadas. Two human-size kokeshi dolls were standing in front of station gate.
We were wondering how to reach Hiraga-san’s kokeshi studio. The Onsen shuttle bus driver/ grandfather insisted we jump into his bus outside of the station gate. Hiraga-san’s studio was located next to a beautiful bridge, dramatic river, deep valley, and lots of very tall trees.
His home was upstairs, his studio downstairs on the left side, and his store at the right side. Through the window, we could hear the sound of a waterfall. Just outside his door is a forest. Hiraga-san said sometimes a monkey family appears outside. Across the bridge, 300 meters away from his studio, there was very good ramen house run by cute grand mom. We now know why his Kokeshi are so magically perfect.