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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Tono 遠野市

Take a steam locomotive to the land of the mythical kappa

The land of the mythical creatures known as kappa, Tono, 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.

Tips

  • Immersing yourself in 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 via JR Shin-Hanamaki Station.

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen to JR 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.

It is rumored 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 indeed 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 from the area 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. Many of themhave been moved to their current site from otsher parts of Tono. You can see how humans and horses lived under one roof, and how invaluable horses were to human existence.

The wheel one on the right is Yamaguchi Water Wheel

Furusato Village is an open-air museum. You can wander around at you 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

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