Photo by © cinnamonellie

Visiting the Gallery SAJIMA- KAPPA SAN Exhibition in Kamakura

On a hot day of the Japanese summer, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to one of my favorite places in Japan, Kamakura.

I didn’t have a particular route to follow or a plan made beforehand.

As it wasn’t my first time there, I decided to enjoy my trip while walking around the streets of the beautiful Japanese city abundant in Shinto shrines and Buddhist Zen temples to see what I could discover.

I was lucky to have the weather on my side, and while strolling aimlessly, I found myself at the "temple of hydrangeas," Meigetsuin (明月院).

After spending a few hours there, I decided to start my journey once again. On the way back, I noticed a sign saying "Kappa-san exhibition."

The sign was in front of the Kitakamakura Old Private House Museum (kitakamakura kominka myūjiamu 北鎌倉古民家ミュージアム), mainly used for exhibitions, displays, and various activities during the year.

The historical building is near the Meigetsuin Temple, and there are many Buddhist temples around, so you can easily visit it if you are in the area.

I must admit that I knew almost nothing about the place, but its antique vibe and two of my favorite words: "kappa" and "exhibition," made me want to explore it.

I found out that the museum is over 100 years old!

Entering, I discovered a wonderful garden, beautiful displays, antique items such as drawers, tables, clothes, ancient pottery, but also various paintings on the walls. During the hydrangea season, the courtyard also fills with flowers and beautiful shades of blues, purples, pinks, and whites, creating a tranquil space.

When I stepped into the building, various kappa displays and art pieces welcomed me inside.

Photo by cinnamonellie

Looking around the place, I noticed that the kappa pottery had a principal theme: family, and family bonds. Everything looked simple yet fun.

The works of art belonged to the Gallery SAJIMA (Gyararī Sajimaギャラリー左司馬) run by Zetsu Hideko (​舌 ヒデ子) and Zetsu Seiichi (舌誠一).

The Kappa pottery is the work of Zetsu Hideko, and I found out that it all began approximately 20 years ago with a work called A I U E O アイウエオ.

It was first displayed at the National Humor Ceramic Sculpture Exhibition (Zenkoku Yūmoa Tōho-ten 全国ユーモア陶彫展), under the theme of Kappa in the 21st Century.

The couple does everything from works of art to planning and management and also have a blog where they regularly upload their journey and exhibition-related information.

Photo by cinnamonellie

Besides the humorous Japanese folklore-inspired pottery, they also make various animals items such as cats and dogs. I find it so unique that all come with different facial expressions and fascinating concepts behind them.

Photo by cinnamonellie

They also make other handcrafted items such as containers, vases, Japanese ink wash paintings (Sumi-e 墨絵) and incorporate seasonal flowers in their works of art.

Their pieces are always available at the Sajima Gallery, and you can always check their website to see if they hold any other special exhibits around Japan.

Also, if you wish to buy a unique souvenir from Japan or want a beautiful piece of art, you can always purchase one from the gallery.

For more information, check the Gallery Sajima Official Website.

For those interested, I also wrote another article relating my small adventure in Kamakura and discovering another marvelous place, the Kamakura Museum of Literature, which you can find here.

Related Links:

Address (Kitakamakura Old Private House Museum):

By - cinnamonellie.