Photo/Illutration Tanka's Fushimi clay dolls (Yoichiro Ikeda)

Editor’s note: This series showcases what we are calling “kawaii” (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.

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Tanka, founded 270 years ago, is the only remaining pottery for Fushimi dolls, believed to be the predecessor of all clay dolls in Japan.

Fushimi dolls became popular as souvenirs in areas around Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in the Edo Period (1603-1867).

To make a Fushimi doll, clay is pressed into the clay mold before it is dried, fired and painted.

Tanka boasts at least 2,000 varieties, including lucky charms such as the seven gods of fortune and Chinese zodiac animals, as well as steamboats. "Manju-kui" is themed on a folk tale about a boy who was asked which parent he loved more.

In reply, the boy broke a sweet bean bun in half and said, "Which half tastes better?"

Address: 504 22-chome Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sundays and holidays.
Visit the official website at (