Selling colorful Russian folk art imported via Wakkanai – Sakhalin cargo ship charter

The exhibit table lined with matryoshka dolls and khokhloma painted items

A Russian folk art exhibit and market started on August 23 at the Japan-Russia Friendship Hall in Northern Hokkaido’s Wakkanai City. The folk art items were imported via a cargo charter ship connecting Wakkanai to Sakhalin, on its first run this year in July. A bounty of items including unique nesting “matryoshka” dolls and traditional crafts painted in the colorful and traditional “khokhloma” style is expected to attract many visitors.

The exhibit-market features approximately twenty kinds of nested matryoshka dolls colored yellow, blue, and other colors. Their stomach areas are decorated with flowers including roses, and the facial expressions exude the warmth of hand-crafting.

Another item featured is khokhloma painted items, which are similar to the Japanese lacquer tradition. They are created by applying colors like red and gold to a black surface to form patterns such as flowers or berries, and are attractive for their simple beauty. Locally in Russia, khokhloma painted items are popular as gifts to send abroad. Approximately ten kinds of khokhloma items are on display, including spoons and cups resembling sake-cups, sake bottle “flasks”, and chess pieces. The price range is wide, but there are inexpensive items ranging only several hundred yen apiece.

The charter delivery for this event was categorized as a trial run for reevaluating factors such as customs procedures for a potential increase of the previously almost nonexistent importing from Sakhalin in addition to continued exporting from Japan, with an eye on continuing charter services.

The exhibit and market will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (weekdays only) until September 17.


Japan-Russia Friendship Hall