Mishima Town Local Crafts Museum
In the cold winter of Fukushima Prefecture, Mishima Town stands as a beautiful reminder of nature. Not just the awe-inspiring landscape surrounding the small town of fewer than 2,000 people, but also the craftsmanship. Here, when the winter virtually shuts down farming, the creative people of Mishima continue to bond with nature by creating crafts.
Using materials from the land around them they make baskets, bags, shoes, and many other everyday objects focused on organic living. You will feel this laser-focused lifestyle throughout the Mishima Town Local Crafts Museum during your visit. Who knows, you might walk away feeling more resourceful.
Mishima Town residents and their craftsmanship are most well known for their paulownia furniture. Their paulownia dress wardrobes are highly distinguished with official certification as Fukushima Prefecture products. It’s no surprise that these expertly made furniture pieces are sought all over Japan.
This type of simple folk art not only allows people to pass the time during the winter, it gives Mishima Town locals purpose. Especially the aging population. With the labor-intensive work of farmwork absent from the winter, the seniors in the town developed their own form of folk art under the name of “okuaizuamikumi”.
Inside the museum, you can see the work of these diligent seniors laid out. The interior of the museum has a rustic feel to it that brings one to some distant time when life was simpler. Considering the unrelenting onslaught of information in our digital age, it was nice to step inside the bubble that is folk art and appreciate the beautiful practicality of the Mishima Town residents.
Starting from the 1970s, Mishima Town locals have begun a town forum to honor and discuss their distinct folk art used to pass the winter. Here are some of their principles that have allowed their art to endure:
1. Create with family and friends in a circle to share the space.
2. Use raw materials that are in the nearby area.
3. Continue the tradition from generations past.
4. Create objects useful for everyday life.
5. Create these everyday objects with utmost sincerity and devotion.
You can see that there is no mention of creating objects for sale or mere consumption. This is the heart of folk craftsmanship. The lifestyle of community and sharing one’s art as a way of communication allows culture, history and tradition to never get muddied. This sentiment is neatly contained in the most memorable quote from the first forum held in Mishima Town, “I love winter. Because that’s when we get to create.”
The crochet style crafts Mishima Town is known for are made from local seasonal plants such as Mountain Grapes, Hiroro, and Silver Vine. With these crochet crafts as the main serving, Mishima residents serve up a side of ceramics, glassware, and wood art inside the museum. If you are ever in the area during the winter, we recommend trying out one of their many events or seminars. You can bring back an age-old tradition to your home and create something to pass on through the generations.
To get a sense of any local culture, art is a great place to start. It’s no different with Mishima Town and their Local Crafts Museum. The place provides a great overview of what traditions the Mishima residents respect and hold dear to their identity. We highly recommend dropping by here in the winter to join in on creating something that lasts.
- Facility Name
- Fukushima Pref. Onumagunmishimamachi Nairi Suwanoue 395
- Business hours
- 9-17 (experience accepted -15:30)
- Regular holiday
- Monday (the following day if Monday is a national holiday)
- Information Sources:
- NAVITIME JAPAN