Morioka Tezukuri Mura is divided in three distinctive spaces displaying the local artisans’ crafts. At the entrance is the Exhibition Area, with the Regional Industry Promotion Center including a small museum, a shop and a café. It is also possible to visit Nanbu Magariya, an ancient and genuine house of typical Iwate architecture. Built in the Edo Period (1603-1868), it includes the peasants’ living quarters and a stable for the clan’s horses. Some tools used for agriculture at the time are also on display.
The most interesting and vast space is the Workshop Area. Visitors can discover about fifteen types of local crafts and it is even possible to come into some workshops to have a closer look on the artisans’ working routine. A nice path allows to discover leisurely all the workshops and their related skills:
- fabric dyeing (somemono);
- straw crafting and creation of straw objects;
- wood crafting;
- loom weaving;
- cups decoration;
- bamboo crafting;
- weaving of dried flowers wreath;
- kokeshi dolls painting;
- spinning top crafting; and
- making of reimen noodles.
Some workshops offer introductory sessions for children and adults, but it is strongly advised to have a minimum knowledge of Japanese language as most of the artisans don’t speak English. Foreign visitors are nonetheless warmly welcomed and for some of the more practical workshop, such as cooking, copying the artisans’ simple moves is enough to get satisfactory results.
The most popular activities are the making of senbei rice crackers, or cold reimen noodles from buckwheat, potato and sweet potato flour. Another group of kind artisans teaches the aizome indigo dyeing and proposes to dye a fine cotton cloth – somemono - ornamented with the patterns you like. It is also possible to create a wooden object like a kokeshi doll or a spinning top.
Some workshops are only for demonstration due to high-level skills involved or a time-consuming fabrication process. This is the case of the traditional cast iron kettle teapot workshop, for example. It is easy to be charmed by the timeless atmosphere, immersed in the old French songs the artisans listen to when working.
Most of the objects crafted in the workshops are on sale in the last section, dedicated to shopping and souvenirs. Morioka Tezukuri Village, with its various and open workshops, is the ideal place for Japanese craftsmanship amateurs.
How to get to Morioka Tezukuri Mura
From Morioka JR Station: ~25 to 30 minutes by Iwateken Kotsu JR bus , stop at Tezukurimura-mae, bound for Tsunagi Onsen or Oshuku Onsen
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Access to the village: free
Museum: ¥100 (~US$ 0.90)
Workshop: from ¥1,200 (~US$ 10.90) to ¥3,600 (~US$ 20.10) for a 20 minutes to one hour workshop (ask on site for workshops schedule)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
Open every day from 8:40 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Annual closing from December 29 to January 1
How long / when to visit
One hour to a full day when taking part to several workshops
Morioka Handi-works Square
Morioka Handmade Village