Home of the Kappa, an imaginary creature that lives in water, featured in many fascinating folk tales of the country.
Tono is a garden city laid in a basin that is surrounded by the Kitakami Range in the central part of Iwate. The three notable mountains of the Kitakami Range are Mt. Hayachine-san, Mt. Rokkoushi-san and Mt. Ishigami-san. Together they are called Tono's Three Mountains. The center of Tono is situated near the upper reaches of the Sarugaishi-gawa River, which is a tributary of the Kitakami-gawa River, at the western end of the Tono Basin. Tono has been well-known for horse breeding for many centuries and has prospered as a trading point between the inland and the coast.
Tono is the land of old folk tales. There are a number of folk tales in Tono that have been told from generation to generation. The most loved tale of the locals is that of the Kappa, an imaginary, peculiar looking creature with a mischievous character that lives in water and has a dish on its head. You will see statues of Kappa all over the town including the one in front of Tono Station and another in the pond of the square near the railway station. Tono's old folk tales, including Kappa stories and old customs, are introduced at Tono Mukashi-banashi Mura (Old Tales Village) and the Tono City Museum.
The most exciting event of Tono is the Tono-matsuri Festival, which is held in early autumn every year. During the festival, local performing arts such as Kagura (Japanese ancient sacred music) and the Rice Planting Dance are performed. Yabusame (Japanese horseback archery) is also a very popular performance that attracts large crowds of people every year.
From Tokyo:[Rail]Three hours 15 minutes by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hanamaki Station. Forty-five minutes by the JR Kamaishi Line Express Train from Shin-Hanamaki Station to Tono Station.