Kanazawa, Noto Peninsula, and Other Cities

Discover secrets on the places in and around Kanazawa City,
where are located on the other side of Japan's east coast!
Jump in a Hokuriku-Shinkansen bullet train at JR Tokyo station, 
or fly from Haneda, Fukuoka, Taipei, or more airports, to get!

Kaga Temari


Kanazawa Tradition: Mother Makes a Handball for Her Daughter's Wedding.

Once upon a time, girls made their own handballs to play with. More once upon a time, boys played football with a ball made of deerskin. These are the history of traditional ballgames. In the Muromachi Period (app. 1336 - 1573), Temari handballs with expensive silk threads were popular, but only for noble girls. During the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), it finally spread to ordinary people with the progress of the cotton industry. Girls must have competed with one another in trying to make new and beautiful designs. Look at the pictures! Now only skillful masters can create such designs. They take your breath away, huh? In Kanazawa we have an old custom that a mother sends a handmade Temari to her daughter as an amulet for her wedding.
Oh, speaking of which, I heard an interesting story. I was wondering if those traditional handballs could be bounced like a rubber one, Then, I learned that the secret is the wadding. Usually Temari handballs with normal cotton are not so springy, but those with osumunda japonica cotton are more bounceable. Amazing, huh?

Kaga Temari Master Takako Koide

 Good sound, good luck!

I visited a Kaga Temari class at the specialty shop Mari-Ya, to see one the master, Takako Koide. Her mother-in-law is the great master who taught her how to make Kaga Temari. Now she has made handballs for more than 30 years. 
She teaches people how to make them twice a week. It’s open from 10:00 to 16:00, and the students can stay there for one hour, half a day, or the whole day, whenever you have time. 

I saw five people making their own, using their needles. “What’s inside of the handball?” I asked one of them. “It’s cotton wadding!” She answered quickly. “We wind the chunk of cotton by a color thread until it forms a precise sphere.” I see! "Who designed the Temari that you are doing the embroidery on?” I thought it was pretty difficult to make these 3D-designs, but it did look fun.
“Of course, our teacher did! Look at all those Temari on the shelf! She’ll show you them later!” Whoa! The showcase was packed with colorful handballs made by the master. From classic handballs with Japanese patterns to Christmas ornaments with Santa Claus! Some are more than just handballs, such as the stuffed ornaments representing the twelve zodiac signs, or music boxes. 

Usually Temari have tiny bells inside, so you can enjoy the lovely sound when it’s being rolled around. She says with a smile, “It’s said that if you can hear a beautiful sound from the inside, it’s a sign that something good will happen.” Her family owns this specialty shop, and her daughter is also teaching others how to make thimble. It seems that all is going well with her life, and that must be because she can hear a beautiful sound every day!
Published: February 8, 2011