Stone lanterns appear throughout Japan at shrines, beside temples, in private gardens–and in the household goods shipments of expats returning to their home countries. Today Mark and I set out to buy lanterns of our own, hopping in the car and heading about 30 minutes south to a stone lantern shop in nearby Hayama.
We pulled up to the small but very promising shop called Negishi Stone and started browsing.
The proprietors, a father-son duo from the Negishi family, said that they do not make the lanterns on-site. Instead they purchase the lanterns from a wholesaler in Ibaraki prefecture, and the Negishi shop sets up the lanterns outside to allow them to age. The father explained how the shop’s setting nestled in a narrow, wooded valley allows moss and other natural colorings from the local environment to grow on the stones and give them personality. He estimated our lanterns at about five years old.
In addition to lanterns, the shop also sells animal and religious carvings–plus one carving of a musical group that brings to mind the latest bands to hit the Yokohama gaijin rock band scene! I’ll let you all decide if the carving depicts Mamonaku or Tempura Crime Scene.
After about 20 minutes of browsing, Mark and I decided on these two beauties. We look forward to setting these up in our garden in Washington.
Negishi Stone is open by appointment only, so call ahead. The son speaks English but the father does not, so have a Japanese speaker handy when you make the call, just in case.
The shop is easily reached by car. If you plan to arrive by public transit, then mention this when making your appointment and the Negishi family will pick you up at the nearest train station. Your purchases will be shipped to your home.
The shop accepts cash only, so come prepared! The smallest lanterns start at just under 20,000 yen and go up in price from there.
Negishi Stone Co. Ltd.