For this issue of THE KITAKAMI TIMES, we had two college students come to the Iwate Prefectural Government for a day as interns at the ILC Promotion Bureau, and had them write up their tips and recommendations for those visiting Iwate. We’ve split this up into two parts, with this second part being about Iwate’s traditions and crafts.



Tono – the land of Japanese mythical creatures


Have you heard of the term “yokai” before?

Yokai are fantastical creatures talked about in Japanese folklore since long ago, and symbolize the unnatural and the unscientific.

In Tono City in central Iwate lies a Kappa Creek where some yokai are said to gather. Kappa are mythical little goblins that live in the water and like to terrorize humans, and this is said to be the start of their myth. Kappa are all green and have a dish like indentation on the top of their heads. Their mouths are like beaks, and they can swim just like a fish, with a shell on their back like a turtle. At Kappa Creek you can try fishing with a cucumber (their favorite food) to see if you can “catch” one of these kappa creatures.

Aside from the kappa, there are other yokai that Tono is famous for, like the Zashiki-warashi (a small ghost child that haunts a Japanese inn) and Oshirasama, which stems from a legend of a horse that fell in love with a lady (!). We hope you enjoy the mythical world of Tono.



Bring a little bit of fun to your day – Nanbu Cast Ironware –


I’d like to showcase Iwate’s traditional craft, Nanbu Cast Ironware.

These cast iron kettles and teapots are popular in both Japan and abroad alike, and there are three main reasons for that popularity.

The first that water brewed in these kettles gains a gentle, rounded flavor as the iron of the kettle filters and grabs on to the chlorine in the tap water. This means your daily cup of tea or coffee will taste that must better if you boil your water in a Nanbu Cast Iron kettle.

The second reason is that using ironware is effective way to prevent and improve anemia. Trace amounts of iron will seep into boiled water or any items cooked in Nanbu ironware. Just by switching your cooking vessels, you’ll be able to effortlessly get some extra iron in your diet!

The third reason is that Nanbu ironware easily keep your food/water warm for longer. Once you heat up the iron, it will stay hot for a long time, and the temperature won’t be too affected by adding food to the pot, preventing temperature irregularities.

You’ll add a bit of class to your daily life just by adding the use of Iwate’s beloved ironware to your kitchen. There are many styles available, from the cute to the chic, and it’s not just teapots – you’ll find frypans, incense holders, and many other products. We hope you’ll find a Nanbu Cast Ironware item that tickles your fancy.


So, there you go. But Iwate is the second largest prefecture in Japan after Hokkaido, so there’s so much more available to learn about – tourism spots throughout our vast area that makes the most of our natural resources; fresh seafood, bountiful produce, meat, and other products from the hilly heartlands, and traditional crafts that show off the unique characteristics of each area. We hope you can experience Iwate for yourself one day.





「いつもの生活をちょっぴり楽しく ~南部鉄器~」