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[Tono City, Iwate Prefecture] A thorough guide to Tono, the town of kappa and hops - Recommended spots, gourmet food, events, and clothing summary

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Packed with tourist information for Tono City, Iwate Prefecture! Tono City is known as the ``village of folk tales'' because mysterious stories about gods and monsters have been passed down, and the city still retains its original landscape, such as satoyama and rice fields. In order to help you enj...

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What is Tono City, Iwate Prefecture?

A basin located inland in the southeastern part of Iwate Prefecture. It is known as the ``village of folk tales'' because mysterious stories about gods and monsters have been passed down, and the area retains its original landscape, such as woodlands and rice fields.

It is also famous for Kunio Yanagita's ``Tono Monogatari,'' a collection of mysterious stories about the monsters and monsters of Tono, and is a popular travel spot for people who like traditional Japanese scenery, folk tales, and monsters.
You can also rent bicycles, so we recommend riding around while enjoying the countryside scenery. (Cannot be rented in winter)

It takes about 3 hours from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hanamaki Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen, and about 1 hour on the Kamaishi Line from Shin-Hanamaki Station to Tono Station.

●Let's take a trip to the world of folk tales!

"Tono Monogatari" is a collection of 119 anecdotes published by Kunio Yanagida about 100 years ago. Said to be the origin of Japanese folklore, this book is filled with legends and folk tales passed down in Tono, and is still a popular book among lovers of folk tales, folklore, and literature.

``Tono Monogatari'', which summarizes the events that happened in the town of Tono in short sentences, describes the mischievous ``Kappa'' , Japan's most famous monster, and the house where he lives flourishes, and the house where he disappears declines. It depicts ``Zashikiwarashi,'' which is said to be a love story between a horse and a human, and ``Oshirasama,'' which is still enshrined in Tono. Tono is home to Kappabuchi, the setting of "Tono Monogatari," and the L-shaped traditional house "Nanbu Magari-ya," where horses and people once lived together. Whether you're reading it or you've never read it, you can enjoy the atmosphere of truly tripping into the world of old tales♪

Enjoy beer in Tono!

Due to its cool climate, Tono City boasts the largest cultivation area in Japan of hops, the raw material for beer. The Hop Harvest Festival is held every August to celebrate the hop harvest, and there are also restaurants where you can taste craft beer from Tono, making it a popular spot for beer lovers.

You can also enjoy a variety of food culture with beer, including the citizen's soul food ``Genghis Khan'', the local food ``hitsumi'' made at home, and the local sweets also known as ``kobiru''!

Recommended sightseeing spots in Tono

Japan's first folk museum! Tono City Museum

If you want to learn more about Tono City, we recommend going to the museum first!
As Japan's first museum specializing in folklore, you can learn about the background behind the creation of "The Tales of Tono" in an easy-to-understand manner.

The world of Tono Monogatari, drawn by Shigeru Mizuki, a popular manga artist who focuses on Japanese monsters, is set in an animated film featuring popular Japanese voice actors Michio Hasama and Masako Nozawa, so there is plenty to see.
Also, be sure to check out the limited-time exhibitions and videos that recreate Tono's life as it was about 100 years ago, performed by Tono citizens.

It's about an 8-minute walk from Tono Station, so we recommend walking to the museum while enjoying the scenery.

Too's Story House where you can listen, touch and experience

A spot where you can see, hear, touch, and learn about Japanese folk tales, including The Tale of Tono.
At Tonoza in the same area, you can listen to folk tales told by storytellers. (Please check the homepage for performance times)
It's about a 6-minute walk from Tono Station, so you can easily stop by. It is sure to satisfy both adults and children!

Ukotori Shrine

The god of love fulfillment that is passed down in Tono. It is said that if you write your wish on the red cloth placed inside the shrine and tie it with your left hand to a tree within the shrine grounds, your wish will come true.

It's about a 25-minute walk from Tono Station, so we recommend going by bicycle or car.

Five hundred arhats

About 250 years ago, Tono suffered greatly from the famine that hit the Tohoku region.
It is said that the priest of Daijiji Temple holed up in the mountains and carved 500 Buddha statues into rocks to mourn the victims. The 500 Arhats carved into stone are rare even in Japan, and are a mystical place of worship in the middle of the forest.
Even now, if you look closely at the rocks, you can see Buddhist statues carved into them, so please take a closer look and think about the feelings of the Buddhist priest who holed up in the mountains and continued carving.

*Be careful of bears, so be careful while visiting and wearing a bear bell and chatting.


The most famous tourist spot in Tono City.
Tono City is seriously looking for kappas, and a cable TV station is filming them 24 hours a day with surveillance cameras so that they can appear at any time.

Also, on days when kappa are likely to be caught, the famous "kappa uncle" may be fishing for kappa! If you would like to go kappa fishing, please get a "kappa fishing permit" at the Tono City Tourism Association or Fossil Garden in advance. Please get it.


In fact, there is not just one Kappa-buchi, but there are many more places in Tono that are said to be home to kappas!

One of them, Tarobuchi, is said to have once been the home of a mischievous kappa called Taro Kappa. Apparently his girlfriend Kappa was in the neighborhood.

Tarobuchi looks like it's about to come out with a raincoat at any moment, so please look for couples' raincoats.

tradition garden

``Oshirasama'' is a tragic love story between a horse and a human, which is one of the most famous stories in ``Tono Monogatari.'' At the back of the Kikuchi family house, which is a nationally designated important cultural property in the folklore garden, there is Oshira-do Hall, where 1,000 Oshirasama statues are enshrined.

At Oshira-do, you can write your wishes on cloth and ask Oshira-sama. Oshira-do Hall, filled with many wishes, is like a different space.

In addition, there is a shop with lots of kappa goods, a sakiori experience, an indigo dyeing experience, and a restaurant (*reopening in spring 2024), so this is a spot you should definitely visit when you come to Tono.

Kappa-buchi can be reached in 5 minutes on foot, so if you want to catch a kappa, get a "kappa catching permit" here!

It's also a 5km road from Tono Station with not much of a difference in elevation, so we recommend renting a bicycle and enjoying the scenery as you go.

Tono hometown village

Tono Furusato Village is home to the Nanbu Magari family, where horses and people once lived together, and it feels like a village all its own.
In addition to being able to actually interact with horses, you can also enjoy interacting with grandparents who protect the local cultural traditions. You can see wonderful scenery throughout the year, including wildflowers, cherry blossoms, fresh greenery, autumn leaves, and snowy scenery.
Inside the facility, you can try your hand at dyeing plants and making pottery, as well as enjoy local cuisine. (Reservations may be required)

You can relax while looking at the scenery, have an experience, or take a walk.
Pets are also allowed in the village, so it's a spot where you can spend your time however you like.

continuation stone

This is the place where the legend of Benkei, depicted in "Tono Monogatari Shui", remains.

Zokuishi, located about 15 minutes by car or 15 minutes on foot up a mountain road, is made up of large stones placed on top of each other in exquisite balance. This stone is said to have been ridden by Benkei, and is a must-see spot when you come to Tono.

*Be careful of bears, so we recommend carrying a bear bell and going with more than one person.

Glasses Bridge

A bridge located right near the roadside station Miyamori.
Kenji Miyazawa's ``Night on the Galaxy Express'' is said to have been inspired by the Megane Bridge in Miyamori.
The bridge is lit up at night all year round, so we recommend taking photos when the train passes over the bridge.

Recommended experiences in Tono

Tono is a town where agriculture is very popular, including the cultivation of hops, which are the raw materials for beer.
We will introduce three plans where you can experience the traditional way of life unique to this area and the culture rooted in the area.

beer tourism

Have you ever come into contact with hops, the raw material for beer?
Even if you love beer, there may be surprisingly few people who have ever seen hops.

In Tono, which has the largest hop harvest in Japan, there are tours where you can visit hop fields, hear from farmers, and enjoy beer at a brewery.
Why not learn about the process of turning hops into beer with your guide and learn more about beer in Tono?

Please apply for participation from the official website!

Click here to apply for participation

Farm stay

Tono has long been a town with thriving agriculture and livestock farming. Since ancient times, people have grown rice and vegetables with cows and horses throughout the year, and in winter they have made miso, pickles, and straw crafts. Would you like to experience rural life in Tono and experience the ``true face'' of Tono?

At a farm stay, you can relax while looking at the mountains, and learn about old wisdom.
There is no doubt that your trip to Tono will become even more interesting!

If you are having trouble deciding on a farm stay plan, please feel free to contact Tono Tabi's farm direct sales office.

Click here for reservations and inquiries

Tono folktale storyteller

A folk tale from Tono that begins with ``A long time ago.'' In fact, there are many other interesting stories that have been passed down from generation to generation in addition to ``Tono Monogatari.'' Would you like to listen to folk tales rich in dialect? Hearing the folk tales told in Tono's unique language is sure to leave a lasting impression on your memory.

You can listen to it at Tono's Story House, Hotel Aeria Tono. We also have on-site performances that come to the places you want us to visit, so if you come to Tono, please give them a listen.

Click here for details (Folktale Storyteller Association official website)

Recommended gourmet food in Tono

craft beer

Craft beer is a must-try when you come to Tono, a major hop producing region. Among them, Tono Brewery TAPROOM is a community brewery where you can enjoy craft beer using Tono hops.

It's about a 5-minute walk from Tono Station, so even those staying around Tono Station can easily visit it.

Inside the store, you can watch the brewing process in action, or sit at the counter and chat with the brewer. In addition, you can enjoy non-alcoholic drinks and dishes made with local ingredients, so whether you're on your own or with your family, you can enjoy them together.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is the soul food of Tono citizens!
In fact, it is the same town as Hokkaido in terms of consumption of Genghis Khan. If you say "Let's have Yakiniku!" in Tono,
It is customary to place a Genghis Khan pot on top of a tin bucket and grill Genghis Khan in the garden.

The slightly spicy and garlicky Genghis Khan sauce is very delicious and goes well with the meat and white rice.
Genghis Khan, loved by the locals, is very popular because it can be easily eaten at restaurants.

Click here for stores where you can eat Genghis Khan in Tono City


In Iwate, a soup made by kneading wheat flour has been popular for a long time, called ``Hittsumi,'' which is similar to ``Suiton'' in the Kanto region.
Would you like to soothe the fatigue of your travels by eating hittsumi, which is still made as a home-cooked dish?

You can also eat it at Denshoen, Tono Kaze no Oka, Takamuro Suikoen, and Tono Furusato Village.

Tono souvenirs

Dawn dawns

This is a sweet made from rice flour that has been loved in Tono for a long time. The name comes from the fact that the cross-section of the walnut resembles a crow in flight. The taste varies slightly depending on the candy shop, so it's fun to try and compare.

Craft beer/hop drinks

Tono is a major producer of hops, the raw material for beer. We recommend Tono's craft beer to take home or as a souvenir.

The craft beer of Kamikei Sake Brewery, one of Tono City's leading sake breweries, uses Tono hops and sells a variety of local beers, so you can try them on the spot or buy them as souvenirs.

Also popular is the non-alcoholic hop soda that makes use of the flavor of Tono hops. It's not sweet, so it's recommended as a new non-alcoholic cocktail for steering wheel keepers.

Kappa goods

Tono has plenty of Kappa goods! You can find Kappa goods wherever you go.
We recommend getting one as a souvenir for your friends, or as a souvenir of your trip to Tono.

Among them, the wooden kappas are all hand-carved folk crafts. Each one has a different face, so you can take a closer look and choose the one you like.

attached horse cow doll

Tsukimushi dolls are handmade by craftsmen and have many fans for their cute colors and expressions. Please find your favorite and display it in your home.

Tsukumagyu dolls are sold at Tabi no Kura in front of Tono Station.

Tono Festivals & Events

▲Tono Festival - Lion Dance

Tono Sakura Festival (late April to early May)

The best time to see cherry blossoms in Tono is around late April. It is a festival where you can enjoy food, marche, local performing arts, etc., centered around the ``Nanbu Iryetsu'', which recreates the process of the Nanbu clan, who ruled Tono in Edo itself, entering Tonogo from Hachinohe.

Hop Harvest Festival (mid-August)

It's a big event to celebrate the year's hop harvest and enjoy singing, dancing, and delicious snacks while drinking draft beer.

Tono Festival (mid-September)

Tono's largest festival, where local performing arts groups from Tono city come together.
The highlight of the first day is the night parade, where people dance and parade through the town. On the second day, Yabusame (Yabusame) and a horse riding tour will be held at Tonogo Hachiman Shrine.

Tono Dobekko Festival (late November to late February)

Doburoku is a traditional Japanese cloudy sake that has not gone through the filtering process. In Tono, Doburoku is affectionately known as "Dobekko." This is a unique winter event where you can enjoy folk tales told by storytellers and local performing arts while drinking Doburoku brewed in Tono and enjoying local cuisine.
Once you come here, you'll definitely come back again!

Doll’s Festival at Tono Machiya (from mid-February to early March)

It is said that in Tono, people used to show travelers the hina dolls that had been passed down in their families for generations, and in return they would listen to stories about their travels. At the Tono Machiya Doll's Festival, you can feel like a traveler and visit the shops in the city and look at old Hina dolls.
In addition, you can enjoy lunch and local sweets exclusive to the Doll's Festival, and see special exhibits at the Tono City Museum.

Tono's climate and clothing


It's chilly so long sleeves are a good idea.
Also, it can get cold in the mornings and evenings, so it's a good idea to bring a layer of clothing.
Recently, cherry blossoms begin to bloom around late April.


Being a basin, the mornings and evenings are relatively cool, but the days are often hot, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees in the summer. However, it is a good idea to bring a layer of clothing to protect you from getting cold in the mornings and evenings and from getting bitten by insects during the day.


As we head into November, it will suddenly become colder.
You will need to take measures to protect yourself from the cold, such as thick jackets and gloves, but since it is often warm indoors, it is best to wear clothes that will help you regulate your body temperature. Also, when it starts to snow, the roads may become icy, so cars should be equipped with studless tires and chains.


Authentic winter is coming.
In January and February, the temperature often drops below -10 degrees, so it is recommended to wear warm underwear and spats under your clothes, as well as thick jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, and earmuffs. It's a relief to have it. Also, there is often around 30cm of snow, so be sure to wear non-slip snow boots.
The roads are icy, so please make sure your car has studless tires and chains.

How to access Tono

For those coming by Shinkansen or conventional lines

Tono Station is connected to the JR Kamaishi Line.

Tohoku Shinkansen Tokyo Station - Shin-Hanamaki Station...about 180 minutes

JR Kamaishi Line Shin-Hanamaki Station - Tono Station...about 60 minutes

For those coming by express bus

As of December 2023, there are no flights arriving at Tono Station.
The train departs from and arrives at JR Morioka Station, the capital of Iwate Prefecture, so you will arrive at Tono Station by taking the Tohoku Shinkansen or conventional line.

For more information, please see the various express bus websites or the Iwate Prefectural Transportation website.

Iwate Prefectural Transportation Co., Ltd. Official Website

For those arriving by plane

The nearest airport is Iwate Hanamaki Airport.

There are regular flights between Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka and Iwate Hanamaki Airport.
It takes about 90 minutes to arrive from Osaka.

Take the access bus from Iwate Hanamaki Airport to JR Hanamaki Airport Station, go to Hanamaki Airport Station on the JR Tohoku Main Line, then board the JR Tohoku Main Line and arrive at JR Tono Station in about 90 minutes.

Iwate Hanamaki Airport official website

For those coming by car

From Sendai, take the Tohoku Expressway from the Sendai Miyagi IC and exit at the Tono IC on the Kamaishi Expressway.
(Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes from Sendai Miyagi IC to Tono IC)

Tono traffic situation

Tono City is large enough to fit all of Tokyo's 23 wards, and the road to your destination may be sloped or mountainous, so we recommend checking the road conditions to your destination before choosing your transportation method. is.

At Tono Station, you can choose the mode of transportation that suits your purpose.

Bicycle rental

We recommend renting a bicycle to go to Kappabuchi and Denshoen.
You can rent one at the Tono City Tourism Association in front of the station. Electric bicycles are also available, so they are recommended for places with many slopes or when going far away.

rental car

If you're traveling to Tono, it's convenient to have a car.
You can rent a car from a nearby rental car shop. Also, car sharing is available outside of the winter, so you can use it in a way that suits you.

○We are a little far from Koiguchi Jidosha Kogyo Station, but we can provide a shuttle service, so please contact us first.
Phone: 0198-62-3154

Official website of Koiguchi Automobile Industry Co., Ltd.

sightseeing taxi

You can take a taxi in Tono City and visit popular spots with a guide.
Would you like to tour Tono while listening to the stories of a taxi driver who knows the area inside and out?

scheduled bus

Iwate Prefectural Transportation buses run in Tono City.
The number of buses may be limited, so we recommend checking the schedule to confirm your return time.

Click here for detailed transportation information

in conclusion

In Tono, you can enjoy the scenery and food of each season, and there are plenty of events!
Please come to Tono, where you are sure to find new discoveries♪
We look forward to! !

Written by

We are a regional trading company responsible for promoting local products and revitalizing tourism in Tono City, Iwate Prefecture. Tono is home to numerous legends about kappa and zashiki warashi, and is also home to an abundance of agricultural and livestock products that take advantage of its location in a basin, with one of the largest production volumes of hops used in beer in Japan. I'm proud. By interweaving Tono's people, goods, history and culture, we aim to create value unique to the region, refine the Tono brand, and revitalize the region.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.

The contents on this page may partially contain automatic translation.

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