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A busy seasonal market in search of chinkoros (Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture)



Blessings come as many as the number of cracks!

Do you know “chinkoro”, a lucky charm for the Little New Year?

Chinkoro are dolls made by kneading joshinko into the shapes of puppies, rabbits, or the Chinese zodiac sign of the year, then steaming and drying the dolls.

Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, holds a seasonal market (also known as “chinkoro market”) every January, where colorful chinkoro are sold.

This year’s first Sekkiichi was held on Sunday, January 14 at the parking lot of the Echigo-Tsumari Exchange Center “Kinare” in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, and approximately 1,000 people from the city and beyond formed a long line for the chinchillos they wanted.

The Sekki Ichi market is said to have originated when farmers brought their daily necessities and folk crafts to the market as a winter side job, and has continued since the Edo period .

Four groups from the city opened stalls at the event, and a total of about 2,300 chinchoros were on display, including this year’s zodiac sign “dragon” and “kakumaki-musume” girls dressed in traditional winter clothing of the snow country.

Each chinkoro is about 3 cm in size and all are handmade. It is said that the more dried and cracked they are, the more they bring good luck.

Visitors selected chinchoros one by one, checking the differences in their expressions.

It was cute. There were a lot of people, but I’m glad I managed to buy one.
I thought it was very nice that each one was slightly different or had a different but consistent shape.
I feel that health is the most important thing, so I want to put chinchoros there to pray for my family’s health. While everyone was standing in line looking happy, I was able to talk with people I didn’t know and became friends with them. I was very happy to be in line.

Stall owner, Tsumari Chinkoro Lover’s Club,
I have always wanted to carry on the tradition of traditional crafts. I was taught how to make chinkoro by a friend and decided to participate in the Setsuki Market for the first time. Since this is the first time in the new year, I make them with the hope that everyone will be healthy and have a good year. I hope the people who buy my chinkoros will have a wonderful year.

The next Sekiichi will be held on Sunday, January 21.

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2024年1月14日(日)、1月21日(日)10:00~14:00 *Only available when sold out.

Address: 1-71-26, Honmachi Honmachi Roku, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 10 min. walk from Tokamachi Station on JR and Hokuhoku Line
URL: https://www.tokamachishikankou.jp/news/96184/

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