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Spots in Hanamaki / Kitakami / Tono Area

  • Geto Kogen Resort
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    4.0
    16 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Kitakamishi Wagachouiwasakishinden
    This is a ski resort in Kitakami City Iwate Prefecture. The resort has one of the richest snowfalls in the Tohoku region and skiers can enjoy a long season of powder snow. Every year many visitors come to the resort from both within and outside the prefecture. There are a total of 14 unique slopes. For skiers who love powder snow we recommend the non-compacted snow course where the best powder snow can be enjoyed during snowy weather. There is a food court which offers a wide selection such as curry and ramen noodles rental shops and a childcare facility. Also there is a large outdoor natural hot spring bath called the “Usagimori no yu” and it is pleasing to have many facilities in one complex.

    Because of its inconvenient location from Tokyo or other large metropolises, the lines are short and lift tickets cheap. Not only that, but it's a big mountain with two(!) gondola lifts and other...

  • Tono Municipal Museum
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    4.5
    28 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Higashidatechou 3-9
    Established in 1980, this museum is the first of its kind in Japan. It is a museum introducing the folklore and folk culture of the Tono peoples' lifestyle, environment, history, and culture. The life of the Tono people in the Tono basin valley is displayed in an easy to understand manner through documents and photographs. One can enjoy viewing the Tono Story, the picture works based on local folklore and topics, and the animated film ''Shigeru Mizuki's Tono Story.''

    This is a neat museum at the foot of a small hill where they used to have a local castle (Nabekura Castle). Of the same modern building, the lower section is the municipal library and the upper...

  • Folktale and Storytelling Center
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    4.0
    45 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Chuoudori 2-11
    This is museum where guests can experience Tono’s world of folklore passed down through the generations through audio and visual exhibits. The facility offers something for both adults and children to enjoy, with a theater, video library, and experience corner. In the Tono-za, a theater that was once used as a sake brewer’s storehouse, visitors can appreciate folk tales told by a professional storyteller and other folk entertainment.

    We visited this museum because entry to it came with entry to the Castle museum, so we thought we'd get our money's worth. I do speak some Japanese but my husband doesn't, and we both found this...

  • Jokenji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Tsuchibuchichoutsuchibuchi 7-50
    This is a temple of the Soto school (of Zen Buddhism) that was established in 1490. 3.5-meter statues of the two guardian Deva kings flank the main temple gate. It is also known as the kappa komainu (kappa guardian dog) temple based on a legend that kappa (a mythical water-dwelling creature) that lived in the river to the south of the temple once helped extinguish a fire at the temple and became komainu (a guardian lion-dog).
  • Wildcat House Yamanekoken (Main Restaurant)
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    3.5
    49 Reviews
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Yasawa 3-161-33
    Five minutes by car from Shin-Hanamaki Station. A restaurant located along the parking lot for the Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Museum. Modeled after the “Restaurant of Many Orders” appearing in Miyazawa’s fairy tales, diners can enjoy a meal while feeling like they are in the world of Miyazawa’s stories. Popular menu items include hearty Ihatov set meal, which comes with kakuni stewed cubes of Hakkin pork and seasonal tempura; as well as the Yamaneko suiton set—suiton, a soup with flour dumplings, is a local Hanamaki dish. Visitors can also purchase original merchandise themed after the works of Miyazawa, making the restaurant a must-visit for fans of the author.

    愛想が悪いというか。なんか、早く食べて出て行きたい感じでした。 駅前で便利ですが、もう少し愛想良くしていただけたら、旅行も楽しかったのに。と。

  • Miyazawa Kenji Dowa Mura (Village of Fairy Tales)
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    4.0
    101 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Takamatsu 26-19
    An experience-oriented museum dedicated to the fairy tales of Kenji Miyazawa located in Takamatsu, Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture. Surrounded by hills and fields, you’ll feel like you’ve wandered into the world of Miyazawa’s fairy tales in the museum’s charming, magical atmosphere. The Kenji’s School area is divided into five zones themed after the Miyazawa’s works. Other museum facilities include Milky Way Station, the Sky Plaza, Kenji’s Classroom, the Fairy Path, the Owl Path, and the Yamano Soen forest. Visitors are encouraged to slowly stroll the facility’s grounds and enjoy the fairy tale world and various sculptures scattered here and there. The nearest station is Shin-Hanamaki Station.

    This place is very cool and worth a visit. It helps to know about Kenji and his stories to put what you see in context. Various areas of the village highlight Kenji's stories and his interests.

  • Unedorisama Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Shimokumichou
    A Shinto shrine dedicated to the god Unedori Myojin located a five minute drive by car from Tono Station. The shrine is said to have been built after Minatoya Heibei, an Edo period merchant from Tono, prayed to Unedori Myojin at a torii gate in the village of Fudai. The shrine is famously believed to provide luck in the fulfillment of love and is visited by many couples. Red strips of cloth are sold at an unmanned stand on the grounds, and it is said that you will marry your sweetheart if you are able to tie one to a tree in front of the shrine using only your left hand. Accordingly, the trees on the shrine’s grounds are covered in red cloth strips, creating a mysterious and magical atmosphere.
  • Kappabuchi Stream
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Tsuchibuchichoutsuchibuchi
    Kappabuchi Stream is the birthplace of the legend of kappa in Tono, mischievous water imps. According to the legend, kappa live in a pool in a stream that flows behind Jokenji Temple and like to play tricks on people or startle them. On the banks of the stream is a small outdoor shrine dedicated to the god of the kappa, and it is said that if women with children pray there with their breasts bared, their wish will be granted.
  • Megane Bridge
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Miyamorichoushimomiyamori 30-37-1 Inside Miomi way street
    Megane (“Eyeglasses”) Bridge is a railroad bridge on the Kamaishi Line of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). Its official name is Miyamori River Bridge. The curves of the arches in this stone bridge supposedly look like eyeglasses, hence the nickname. It was built in 1915 and extensively restored in 1943. Three of the original supports still exist. Every weekend, the bridge is illuminated from sunset till about 10:00 p.m., and it is a favorite photographic subject for railroad fans.
  • Denshoen
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    3.5
    6 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Tsuchibuchichoutsuchibuchi 6-5-1
    Located in Tono, land of Japanese folklore, Denshoen is a facility which exists to share the lifestyle of farmers in the area once lived to future generations. Visitors can learn about old folk tales, experience traditional events, and try making folk crafts. The facility also engages in silkworm raising. Each year a festival to pray to the household god Oshira-sama is held at Denshoen. In addition, the facility regularly has a storyteller share old Tono folktales (fee and reservation required). You can enjoy local Tono cuisine in Denshoen’s cafeteria, and there’s also a memorial museum dedicated to Tono storyteller Kizen Sasaki, as well as the Oshira-do Hall.

    かっぱ淵の帰りは雨が強くなり急いで伝承園に戻りました。 伝承園のかっぱの麦わら帽子を借りて写真を撮って、 遠野名物のけいらん390円を食べました。 伝承園のけいらん、卵形の小さいお餅にこし餡が入っています。 伝承園の食堂には男の人1人だけ入っていました。 空いていたので貸し切りです。

  • Polan Square Garden
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Yasawa 1-1-36
    A square located close to the Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Museum in Yasawa, Hanamaki City. The name is derived from a fairy tale of the same name written by Kenji Miyazawa. Highlights include the sundial flower bed and Nansha flower bed dutifully recreated based on the designs of Kenji Miyazawa.
  • Miyazawa Kenji Ihatov Museum
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    3.5
    10 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Takamatsu 1-1-1
    Adjoining the Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Museum and Miyazawa Kenji Dowa Mura (Village of Fairy Tales), the Ihatov Museum has a library and exhibition space carrying materials related to Kenji Miyazawa as well as a café space; shop corner; and hall and classroom space which can be used for lectures, concerts, and various other events. Here visitors can engage with the world of Kenji Miyazawa in a variety of ways.

    Very good but its helpful to know about Kenji in advance. Exhibits are in Japanese. There are QR readers that translate to British English but we had varying degrees of success using them. Beautiful...

  • Anbe
    Shopping
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Hayasechou 2-4-12
    Anbe is a well established “Genghis Khan”, or Mongolian mutton barbecue restaurant founded in 1947. Widely loved in Tono City, it is said that this restaurant was the original Genghis Khan restaurant which made the dish it is today. Anbe is also known as the birthplace of the Genghis Khan Bucket, characteristic of Tono Genghis Khan. The tin bucket with holes in it uses solid fuel to heat the barbecue grill placed on top.
  • English Coast
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Kamikobunato
    This coast stretches south of the junction of the Kitakami River and Sarugaishi River, on the west bank of the Kitakami River. Author Miyazawa Kenji named this the English Coast because the exposed mudstone rocks reminded him of England’s Strait of Dover. It also serves as the setting for his novella “English Coast,” and is one of the Scenic Areas of Ihatov.
  • Kitakami Tenshochi Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Iwate Pref. Kitakamishi Tachibana
    Located at the point where the Kitakawa River and Waga River meet, the Kitakami Tenshochi Park is a municipal park which is referred to as one of the three famous cherry blossom spots in Michinoku (Tohoku). The name “Tenshochi”, meaning beauty spot, comes from the wonderful view of the cherry blossom seen from Jingaoka Hill. 10,000 cherry blossom trees and 100,000 azaleas are planted at the approximately 30,000 square meter site, and in 1990 the park was selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots. The Sakura Matsuri Festival (cherry blossom festival) is held each year from the middle of April to the beginning of May, with lots of tourists coming to visit at this time.
  • Machinaka Visitor Center
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Hanamakishi Kamichou 1-10
    The Machinaka Visitor Center, with its recreated white walls recalling Hanamaki’s hay days as a center of merchants, is a tourist information center built in an old private storehouse. It offers tourist information, Hanamaki umbrellas, Hanamaki dolls, Hanamaki kokeshi wooden dolls, ceramics, dyed fabrics and other traditional crafts and local specialties. It’s 15 minutes’ walk from JR Hanamaki Station.
  • Tsuzuki-ishi Rock
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Ayaorichoukamiayaori
    This rock formation features a massive seven meter long, five meter wide, two meter tall boulder balanced atop two smaller boulders, and has been named a Natural Monument by Tono City. There are legends saying it is a remnant of an ancient megalithic Dolmen culture (a stone grave-building culture), but there is no clear explanation. In the ancient “Gleanings of the History of Tono,” there is a legend saying Tsuzuki-ishi rock was formed when Musashibo Benkei lifted the giant boulder up.
  • Bangari
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    4.0
    8 Reviews
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Iwate Pref. Tonoshi Aozasachounukamae 1-36-1
    Bangari offers “kuretsubo soba” made with famous kuretsubo turnips produced in Tono, as well as chuka soba, ramen with five different levels of spice, and more. Their soba and chuka soba are made with homemade soba noodles that use flour ground onsite. They have sets that include mini rice bowls that should satisfy customers with a large appetite. They are closed from 14:30 until 17:00, so plan carefully. The restaurant is about a five-minute drive from JR Tono Station.

    釜石に行く途中で寄りました。大きな道沿いにあるのですぐわかります。鴨南蛮をいただきました。とても美味しかったです。そして何よりもお店の人の温かい応対にまた近くに来たら寄りたいなあと思いました。

  • Monument to Kenji Miyazawa (Ame ni mo Makezu Monument)
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Shimoheiguntanohatamura Raga 3
    This monument is especially valuable, among all the many Kenji Miyazawa monuments, for the section of his famous poem “Ame ni mo Makezu” engraved on in in the handwriting of Kotaro Takamura. It was erected in 1936, but since some words were accidentally omitted, it was re-engraved in 1944. Crowds of people from all over Japan gather here every year on September 21st, the anniversary of Miyazawa’s death. It’s a 10 minute drive from Tohoku Expressway Hanamaki Minami Interchange.
  • Shiwa Furu Inari-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Iwate Pref. Shiwagunshiwachou Masuzawa Komori 108
    This is a quiet shrine surrounded by trees, protected by Ukanomitama no Kami, the god of “Good Fortune” and “Industry.” Originally it was called Hongu-ji Temple, and Shinto and Buddhist ascetic practice experience was carried out here until the Meiji Restoration. This shrine is rare, and in front of the main hall is Gokenzoku Shrine. In 1954 the typhoon No. 15 blew over the large sacred cedar tree. The “Gokenzoku, the mummy of a white fox” was excavated from a cavity in the fallen tree roots. It is said that wishes will come true if you ask this fox as it is transmitted to the main Inari Shrine.

Iwate Main Areas

around-area-map

A northern Tohoku prefecture promising peace and quiet, Iwate is sparsely populated, replacing people with snow-capped mountains, history-rich sites, and fields of crops that are to thank for the region’s delicious local cuisine. Meander along the three-city Golden Route, where you’ll visit the grand Buddhist temples of Hiraizumi and the Tono folk villages before tasting the three famed noodle dishes of Morioka.

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