Hakata doll painting experience

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As you may know, since this Friday, I became a special correspondent for Fukuoka Prefecture Tourist Information Association. It is the first of all the projects I have in mind. This collaboration makes me really happy and I am really honoured to have been chosen by them. I really hope that it will make people of all over the world the opportunity to discover Fukuoka.

To celebrate that, I decided to give me a gift, an activity I wanted to do for months: painting a Hakata doll. Before anything else, here are a few words about this doll.
Their history started in the 17th century, but it was in the 19th century that they were known to general people, thanks to a craftsman who seems to make them easier and less expensive to create. Different from other Japanese dolls, Hakata ningyo (博多人形) are only made ​​of clay (took near Mount Aburayama in the southern Fukuoka city). The dolls are made ​​very carefully and before it could go on sale, it takes between 20 to 60 days.

Let's back to painting !
The course of the experience is very simple: we first choose a doll to paint from a dozen models available (dolls, traditional figures, animals...). Then we sit to the big table where the owner has prepared brushes, toothpicks (for details), a cup of water to rinse brushes, a paper plate for painting, tissues, tons of colors colors and you can start painting! Feel free to ask for a model if you have no idea about how painting yours.

Hakata doll painting experience



Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience


I really wanted to paint a doll (so not an animal) and as I love daruma dolls, I chose an all round one carrying some flowers that reminded me of hydrangeas. Although this is not the season, I chose to paint them that way : baby pink, sky blue and light purple. Then I mixed red, white and silver for hair ornament. For the kimono, I hesitated quite a long time and finally chose a very lively red that contrasts well with very black hair of the doll. Hakata dolls' hair are not black, but glossy brown hair, a beautiful color that I have unfortunately not been able to replicate.
Here is how my doll turned, as well as how was the model which has kindly been loaned. It took me two hours.

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience

Hakata doll painting experience
Thanks to the rain, my hair was all messy ! 
Surrounded by hundreds of dolls, the shop recalls an old Japanese house. You could hear television that was looking owner's husband and we were served a green tea. In fact, it feels like home and it was very pleasant. The shop is located in a small street near a river and the painting table is adjacent to a large window bay.

The shop is very quiet and painting, even if it requires some concentration, is a rather relaxing activity and it develops creativity. While drinking a delicious  green tea, it was a perfect afternoon.

Hakata doll painting experience - Shogetsudo

Hakata doll painting experience - Shogetsudo

Hakata doll painting experience - Shogetsudo


The shop is run by a charming couple. The owner, who I talked with a lot (she surprised me by saying she had seen me on TV last month. She even told me about this blog), is really lovely and is a good example of Fukuoka's inhabitant hospitality. She does not hesitate to come to speak and is interested about each one. Above all, it is a passionate about dolls which is inexhaustible. I learned a lot about the achievement, colors, shapes, and about the fact that according to their nationality, the preference about dolls change (the shop exported abroad for those who are interested).

This is a very nice experience which, in addition to have a fully customized doll  for a reasonable price (it cost me 1945 yens),  it allows to learn a little part of Fukuoka's culture in a friendly atmosphere. You can book in English, have the services of an interpreter (an extra fee will be asked) and you can come alone or with a group (maximum of 50 people).
Do not hesitate one second if you are in Fukuoka !


HAKATA NINGYÔ KAIKAN SHÔGETSUDÔ (博多人形会館 松月堂)
Adress :
Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Nakasu, 5-1-22

Phone  :
092-291-4141
092-286-4478 (reservation in English via Fukutabi Information Line for Foreign Visitors)

Price :
From 1575 yens

Opening hours :
Everyday from 10AM to 5PM  (activity takes aroune one hour).

Official website

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