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Take a steam locomotive to the land of the mythical kappa

Tono is the land of the mythical creatures known as kappa. The place will charm you with its legends and intrigue you with its rich history. Best of all, you can take a real steam locomotive to get there.

Don't Miss

  • Discover the legends of the land
  • The L-shaped houses and other artifacts at Tono Furusato Village

Quick Facts

There are 119 stories in the book The Legends of Tono

Fukusenji Temple in Tono houses the largest wooden Buddha in Japan

How to Get There

You can reach Tono from Shin-Hanamaki Station.

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Hanamaki Station and take the Kamaishi Line to Tono (one hour). However, the most enjoyable way to get to Tono is on the SL Ginga , an old steam locomotive that runs between Hanamaki and Kamaishi.

Folklore and little green monsters

Kappa are imaginary green creatures with pointy noses, shells on their backs, and plates on their heads. The legend of the kappa was created to keep children from going too close to rivers and other bodies of water.

Stories say that kappa would lure children into the water and eat them. The only thing they like more than human flesh is cucumbers.

Tono Municipal Museum

Wherever you go in Tono you will see kappa. The best place to learn more about them and the history of Tono itself is the Tono Municipal Museum. There are three exhibition rooms, a multiscreen theater, slides, and pictures.

A pool outside Tono where kappa are rumored to live

Pregnant women praying to kappa

Just behind Jokenji Temple is a small stream known as Kappabuchi, which has a small shrine dedicated to the legendary creatures.

Pregnant women often come to pray and make offerings at this shrine, such as a piece of red cloth shaped like a breast. It is believed this will ensure an abundance of breast milk.

Not just kappa

Tono Furusato Village is a great place to see traditional L-shaped houses. These houses were common in Iwate during the Edo period (1603-1867). Many of them have been moved to their current sites from other parts of Tono. You can see how humans and horses lived under one roof and how invaluable horses were to human existence.

The wheel on the right is the Yamaguchi Water Wheel

Tono Furusato Village is an open-air museum. You can wander around at your own pace or take a guided tour. There are several events held throughout the year for visitors to take part in and enjoy.

Other places of interest in the area

As a former castle town, Tono has a rich history. You can check out one of the many festivals held in Tono throughout the year or head to one of the many parks, temples, shrines, or historical sites. The hot springs of Hanamaki are close, as is Kamaishi on the coast.

The Chiba family L-shaped house in Tono

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.


Near Tono

Tono Nature
1. Tono
Esashi-Fujiwara Heritage Park Attraction
2. Fujiwara Heritage Park
hanamaki & around Attraction
3. Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Museum
Goishi Coast Nature
4. Goishi Coast
hanamaki & around Nature
5. Kitakami Tenshochi Park
Kitakami Tenshochi Sakura Festival Festivals & Events
6. Kitakami Tenshochi Cherry Blossom Festival

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