Ashiya Chigusa Ningyou

Ashiya Chigusa Ningyou, or Ashiya Chigusa Dolls, are handmade dolls that have been handed down and made by housewives in Ashiya as hobby handicrafts since 1951 in the postwar rehabilitation period.

Ashiya Chigusa Dolls originated from Kohagi Dolls. Kohagi Dolls have long been made in Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Our great master Ryo Araki (1900-2001) made sustained efforts to add refinements to Kohagi Dolls in accordance with the elegant character of Ashiya, thus completing Ashiya Chigusa Dolls.

Notes: Ashiya is a city in the southeast of Hyogo Prefecture; Chigusa means one thousand seeds; Kohagi means small Hagi (the dolls are small).


The body is made of wires wound with cotton and the face is made of cotton and cloth. The surface that represents the human skin is elaborately smoothed with a small hot iron. Pieces of cloth cut from old kimono (traditional Japanese clothes) are adhered to form the doll’s costumes.

The most attractive feature of Ashiya Chigusa Dolls is that we can create an abundant variety of postures and scenes according to ideas and genuine skills in spite of the familiar materials and simple structures.

About Sachiko Moriyama

Entered the Chigusa-kai, a society for the instruction and management of Ashiya Chigusa Doll making and started making dolls in 1979. Tries to express the atmosphere of the Japanese four seasons on the theme of the old manners and customs mainly in the Edo period. Obtaining the instructor’s license in 1982, started instructing on the making of dolls and has held private exhibitions and spot sales in Ashiya, Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, and so on.

Won a prize in the 14th Hobby Grand Prize of Hobby Association of Japan in 2004. Sent an exhibit to the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan.