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Explore 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.

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 Japan's largest Kannon figure carved from a single piece of wood

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).

Folklore and little red monsters

The Tono kappa are imaginary red 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. Cucumbers are said to be their favorite food.

Tono Municipal Museum

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 documents relating to Tono's history and folklore.

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 became common in Iwate around the 18th century during the Edo period. 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 Chiba family is a popular spot, but is undergoing renovation until 2026. For up-to-date information, please check the official website.

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


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