Kyoto Art Dolls

It is though that dolls were first made in the belief that any evil that might affect a child would instead afflict the doll. As time went by such dolls as amagatsu and houko evolved into what became the prototype of hina dolls with which children of imperial and noble families played during the Heian period (794-1185).
The form of these dolls was not perfected, however, until sometime during the Edo period (1600-1868). Gosho dolls, isho dolls and ichimatsu dolls, all of which are ornamental rather than a child's toy, appeared around the same time and are still being made today.

With the development of crafts associated with lacquer, textiles and Buddhist altar paraphernalia in the area, Kyoto is an ideal environment for the making of dolls. Because all the work is divided between specialized craftspeople who make either the head or limbs, or attach the hair and dress the dolls, all the work is of the very best quality resulting in dolls of a really high standard.


Kyoto, the birthplace of many crafts related to, or centered around, Buddhist fittings, natural fibers, lacquer, etc., is the perfect environment for doll-making. Craftsmen are divided based on their specialty in departments such as head making, hair attachment, limbs making, dress making and, since each department makes very high-quality products, very sophisticated dolls are created as a result.

How to make

The production process is based on a very minute division of roles where every craftsman involved possesses sophisticated techniques that have been handed down in a "father-to-son-type transmission.” Materials used are carefully-selected, premium-quality natural materials.