The founder of Usaburo Kokeshi dolls, Usaburo Okamoto was born in 1917 in Shinto Village. In 1950, he started creating kokeshi dolls in Shibukawa City. In 1979, he established a factory in the current location, adapting modern technologies and making it possible to integrate hand-made production with mass production. With these technologies, the sale of Usaburo Kokeshi spread nationwide and worldwide.
The manufacturing process of kokeshi doll includes drying the wooden material, rounding the edges of the wooden material, designing, painting and assembling. Today, Usaburo Kokeshi produces more than 15,000 dolls monthly. There are six in-house designers at the factory.
Besides traditional kokekshi dolls, Usaburo Kokeshi creates uniquely designed modern kokeshi dolls with innovative shapes and colors. Customers are able to take a tour in the factory and attend workshops to try painting kokeshi dolls. Customers can also enjoy online or catalog shopping of Usaburo Kokeshi dolls.
There is a play room in the store where children can enjoy playing with ball, tops, ringtosses, and tsumiki building blocks.
The kokeshi gallery exhibits more than 1,000 pieces. The artwork exhibited in the gallery is not for sale, but there are a variety of kokeshi dolls available along with other Japanese handicrafts at the store.
Usaburo Kokeshi English site
1591 Nagaoka, Shinto-mura, Kita Gunma-gun, Gunma-ken MAP