Popular Destinations in Six Prefectures of Tohoku

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HOME > Popular Recommended Destinations > Popular Recommended Destinations -Iwate Prefecture-

Popular Recommended Destinations -Iwate Prefecture-


Tono is a quiet inland city located in the Tono Basin surrounded by the Kitakami Mountains in Iwate Prefecture. Within 4 hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen, transferring to Kamaishi Line at Shin-Hanamaki Station, Tono is home to folktales and old legends. Those stories have been passed on by word of mouth through the ages. Kunio Yanagida, the founder of Japanese folklore studies, wrote them down by listening to a storyteller known as ‘Japanese Grim’. In 1910, Yanagida compiled and published ‘The Legends of Tono”. Therefore, many sightseeing attractions related to the book are dotted around the city, for example, Kappa-buchi. In many places such as Tono Folktales Museum and sightseeing spots, you can listen to folktales told by local storytellers. Many tangible and intangible cultural assets are designated as ‘Tono Heritage’ by Tono City. Visiting Tono is appealing for those who are interested in Japanese folktales and little-known culture.


In the 12th century, Hiraizumi was the ancient capital of Oshu in northeastern Japan. It flourished for approximately 100 years under the rule of Fujiwara family that lasted for three generations. The town now has a population of about 10,000, but some historical buildings and cultural artifacts still remain there. Among them, two Buddhist temples; Chusonji temple and Motsuji temple, are worth visiting. In Chusonji, the Kojikido Golden Hall has preserved for more than 800 years without any damage. The museum attached to the temple contains many artifacts such as Buddhist statues.

Motsuji temple is well known for its beautiful garden designed in the Heian style. In this style, the founder constructed the garden to represent the pure land in Buddhism philosophy. In 2011, the two Buddhist temples and other historical monuments in Hiraizumi achieved a UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Please enjoy your stay here.

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