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Land of L-shaped houses, legends and locomotives

Discover the charm of rural Japan, and the legendary kappa.

Discover Tono

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Iwate Prefecture, Tono is a hidden gem that embodies the essence of traditional Japanese culture. With its rustic landscapes, rich history, and unique activities, it offers a truly unique insight into rural Japan. 

Immerse yourself in the fascinating folklore of Tono at the Tono Municipal Museum, where you can hear of the legends and stories that have shaped the region. Learn about the local myth of the Kappa, mischievous water spirits believed to inhabit rivers. Resembling turtles, the kappa supposedly eat cucumber and children, and are an integral part of Tono’s folklore created to dissuade children from falling into the rivers. Don’t miss the Kappabuchi stream, located behind Jokenji Temple, where a small shrine dedicated to the Kappa awaits. It’s a place where expecting mothers offer prayers for good fortune, adding to the mystical charm of the area. 

Step back in time at the Tono Furusato Village, an open-air museum showcasing L-shaped houses that were once common in Iwate during the Edo era. These unique structures housed both humans and horses under one roof. Marvel at the magnificent wooden Buddha statue at Fukusenji Temple, the largest of its kind in Japan, and experience a sense of tranquility and spirituality. 

For a nostalgic adventure, hop aboard the steam locomotive SL Ginga, which runs between the hot springs of Hanamaki and the coastal town of Kamaishi. This scenic journey allows you to soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes while relishing the old-world charm of a bygone era. 

Tono is a town that embraces its history and traditions, and you’ll find a vibrant calendar of festivals, enchanting parks, temples, and shrines awaiting your exploration. With every step, you’ll be drawn deeper into the legends of Tono. 

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