Temari Balls

Intricate thread balls with a thousand-year-old history that symbolize loyalty and good fortune

Since their introduction from China in the Asuka Period (538-710), temari (手まり) balls have evolved from colorful toy balls for children to beautiful works of art that are believed to bestow good fortune. They are given as gifts on auspicious occasions, such as New Year’s Day, the birth of a child, and Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day).

To construct these balls, a core, usually of batting or yarn, is wrapped tightly with strips of fabric followed by thread (silk, cotton, rayon, etc.) until a uniform sphere is obtained. The surface of the balls are then decorated with intricate embroidery. Becoming a temari artist in Japan is no easy feat, requiring training and levels of certification by the Japan Temari Association that could take a decade or longer. To learn more, check this site.

Temari balls come in different sizes, materials, designs (traditional vs. modern), and intricacy. One of our favorite designs is of chrysanthemums. Crafts Hirosaka in Kanazawa carries some impressive ones of 2, 6, or 12 chrysanthemums on each ball. Prices range from 800 yen to 22,000 yen depending on the size and complexity.


Varies depending on the size, material, and design. Prices range from JPY 800 to 22,000 before tax.

Author: say1

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