Welcome to the next edition of the ILC Relay! We want people around the world to know how all of Iwate is working to bring about the ILC, so the ILC Relay is all about interviewing various people in Iwate who support the ILC project.

(Note: This edition of the ILC Relay was written by Kazunori Oikawa of Ichinoseki City, and translated by Amanda Wayama)

In the area around Ichinoseki City, there is…
World Heritage site Hiraizumi.
Genbikei and Geibikei gorges.
Mount Kurikoma. Mount Murone.
Delicious food and unforgettable events.

There are so many wonderful things to do and see in the Ichinoseki City and Hiraizumi Town area, and the Ichinoseki City Tourism Association (ICTA)’s role is to share information on those attractions. The ICTA also supports the movement to bring about the ILC by helping to coordinate ILC tours and through selling ILC-themed goods. For this ILC Relay, we’ve interviewed the director of the ICTA, Mr. Kenji Sasaki.

Kenji Sasaki
Director of the Ichinoseki City Tourism Assocation

Ichinoseki, full of wonder

“Ichinoseki City is home to a vast expanse of nature and a number of different natural topographies. For outdoor lovers, there are a lot of virgin forests to explore, and Mount Kurikoma is famous for its awesome trekking paths as well as its secret hot springs. You can climb to the top of Mount Murone to get a great view of the entire landscape, as well as try paragliding and camping.

“Genbikei Gorge, with its emerald green river, will delight you with the little shop across the river selling sweet dango (rice balls) that they ferry across in a basket. Then there’s Geibikei Gorge, where you can take a relaxing ride down a gentle river surrounded by 100 meter cliffs on either side.

“The feeling of each sightseeing spot in Ichinoseki changes with the seasons, so you’ll be greeted with new delights each time you visit.

“There are also many local traditions and folk arts for you to see and interact with. This area is often most known for the World Heritage Site Hiraizumi but there is so much more to see. If you have an interest in history and culture, just ask us and we can guide you to various places.

“In the future, when researchers come to live in the area with their families, we hope they will share the charms of Ichinoseki with rest of the world, as well as show their friends and colleagues around the area. That will make it easier for other foreign visitors to plan fun trips to the area.”

Information in English

“The ICTA is able to guide English-speaking guests so we welcome you to visit. We also provide pamphlets and other materials in English, Korean, and Chinese.

“As a new project, we lend out audio tour touch-pens. Each pen has seven major world languages, and it will give you information as you touch the pen to a special pamphlet. Our guests can take this pen with them to attractions within Ichinoseki and Hiraizumi.”

Tons of fun events

“There is so much fun to be had in Ichinoseki. Here are some events we think our foreign guests would love:

“First off is the Nationwide Local Beer Festival, with around 250 varieties of local and craft beer from around Japan. There’s also food that uses local ingredients, which is very popular with our foreign visitors.

“There’s also the Ichinoseki-Hiraizumi Balloon Festival, where around 30 hot air balloons of every different color decorate the skies of Ichinoseki. Our Ichinoseki original golden balloon is very popular.

“Then there’s also the National Mochi Summit in Ichinoseki. Mochi is a Japanese food made from pounded rice cake, and usually topped with some sort of sauce or condiment. At the summit, mochi dishes from around Japan compete to be judged as the tastiest dish. In the Ichinoseki region, mochi is served at weddings, seasonal ceremonies, and other special events, and it has long served as one of the ways we welcome our guests. Plus, everyone loves the Mochi Pounding Group, who sing songs as they pound rice into mochi in a wooden bowl with a huge dowel.

“Every week, some sort of event is happening in Ichinoseki, ranging from big festivals to small gatherings. We strive to provide a fun experience for our guests at each and every event.”

We also sell ILC Goods!

“At the ICTA, in order to support the ILC, we serve as a spot where you can buy Science Kitty, the Hello Kitty collaboration with the ILC. We also hand out pamphlets, and hope to increase interest in the ILC not just in the people of Ichinoseki, but people who visit from all over.

“If the ILC is realized, then people from around the world will come to tour the ILC facility. When they come for such tours, we hope that they will visit the other attractions and events in Ichinoseki, and enjoy our delicious food. We hope to provide the utmost in hospitality to keep our guest satisfied as they tour the area.”




今回は一関市観光協会の佐々木賢治(ささき けんじ)会長にインタビューしました。

プロフィール:一関市観光協会 会長 佐々木 賢治(ささき けんじ) さん