Traditional festival sustained by Mikuni Chochin lantern
About the Mikuni festival
Mikuni Town in Fukui Prefecture has flourished with a Kitamae-bune cargo ship culture. The most exciting time of the year for this town is the grand festival of Mikuni, held annually by Mikuni Shrine for three days from 19th to 21st of May. It is one of the biggest festivals in the Hokuriku area originating in the Edo period, in which Yama floats with majestic giant Samurai dolls parade through the town. Mikuni Chochin lantern has been passed down together with this Mikuni festival. It has been loved by the people as a symbol of the port town where traditional festivals live on.
Crafted by artisans with fine handiwork.
By using the wooden models, thin bamboo strips and washi paper, an artisan make each chochin lantern by hand using traditional method. Chochin lantern is made strong, durable and beautiful, because every step of the lantern making is done carefully by hand.
Designated as a local handicraft of Fukui prefecture
About Mikuni Chochin
While manufacturing the lantern, Itoya has been using traditional techniques such as using wooden models and thin strips of bamboo, shaping and painting the lantern manually, and drying them naturally under the sunlight. While the division of labor has become more common in other prefectures, Itoya still carries out all 12 processes manually.
The first female craftsman in the history of Itoya
Chochin Artisan Mariya Kojima
She became a cook after graduating the junior college, but became a lantern artisan when she was 25 years old. Later she got married and became a mother of three children. She is not only engaged in lantern production at the same time as raising children, but also holds managerial and public relations position.