VIDEO: Exploring Japan: Get crafty in Kuroishi City

Photos by Yoshihito Morita
Photos by Yoshihito Morita

VIDEO: Exploring Japan: Get crafty in Kuroishi City

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

Situated at the north end of Honshu and a 2-hour drive from Misawa Air Base, Kuroishi City is home to impressive streets filled in traditional wooden arcades and local craft art museums. The area also offers lush forests and a wonderful view of Mt. Hakkoda.

Originally developed as a castle town, Nakamachi Komise District in the city center is known for its impressive wood-covered shopping arcades constructed to shelter visitors from snow in the winter and strong sunshine in the summer. Drop by Tsugaru Komise Station, a shop featuring local sweets and wooden products, as the shop offers complimentary live Tsugaru-shamisen performances.

A bit off from the city center, Tsugaru Kokeshi Doll Museum, housed in a merchant house built about 200 years ago, displays countless Kokeshi dolls, charming wooden folk craft dolls widely produced in the Tohoku (northeastern) region of Japan. The dolls have a simple form of body and head and are often offered as a souvenir at hot spring resorts throughout the region.

“With a reservation, you can participate in a class to paint and decorate a doll yourself,” says Yoshihito Morita, who works at Misawa Air Base Commissary and recently visited Kuroishi City. 

Near the doll museum, Tsugaru Traditional Craft Center offers exhibits featuring local traditional kimono, various farming tools and household items. You can enjoy listening to musicians playing local folk music on Tsugaru-shamisen (local banjo-like string instrument) in the hall of the building.

Besides the impressive street and museums, Kuroishi has a pristine onsen hot spring and superb sake breweries. And Mount Nakano Nomijiyama near these museums is known as a great place to view autumn leaves. The mountain will soon be filled with gorgeous bright hues of yellow and crimson colors, so what are you waiting for?

Learn more about the city through this story. And take a virtual trip here.

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