Matsumoto’s most well-known folk craft is a hand-made ball of intricately woven silk yarn, called “temari”. While the predecessor of the temari originated in China, temari in Japan were originally made with old pieces of kimono.
There are a few theories about the origins of the temari in Matsumoto. One says that over 200 years ago, a noblewoman belonging to the ruling Matsumoto Clan created the first temari handball. Another says that a child of one of the area’s warriors started making them to help bring in money.
At first, the temari balls were popular as simple toys for little girls to play with. Later, they became symbols of harmony and accord between families, hence brides began presenting them to the groom’s side of the family. Nowadays, they are mainly used as gifts and interior decorations. The balls are made by winding colored threads of silk to create various shapes and patterns. They vary in size, but can take about four or five hours to make.
Matsumoto manhole cover decorated with temari
See our Other Activities page for information on making a temari yourself.
Where to Purchase
- Takagi – In business since 1878. Two locations: Near the Castle & On the 4th floor of Midori in the Matsumoto Station building.
- Earth – Sells mini temari phone straps and earrings.