The Tono region is featured in Tono Monogatari (Legends of Tono), a literary work written by Japan's forerunner in folklore, Kunio Yanagita. Tono is a simple mountain village, but in the past, it flourished as an important center of trade. Yet, at the same time, the region was surrounded by a harsh, natural environment, which often resulted in famine. Let us guide you through this amazing world of legend -- a legend created by the people of this region, who have an affection for all living things and are mesmerized by the natural world.
Stories about the mischievous Kappa, who live in Japan's numerous rivers and streams, were created as warnings to keep children from drowning. Tono's Kappa are particularly well-known. About the size of a child, they have a shell on their back, a dish on their head, webbed hands and feet, and a sharp, beak-like mouth.
Since ancient times, Oshirasama has been worshipped in homes of old families as the god of silk production. Each Oshirasama consists of a set of two dolls carved from Mulberry wood - one has the head of a horse, and the other, a human head. On the sixteenth day of the lunar new year, it is customary to perform "Oshira asobi," which is a custom that includes dressing the Oshirasama in a new outfit made from vibrant cloth and decorating the alter with Oshira dumplings.
It is said that they live in old houses and sometimes take the form of a child with bobbed hair.
Some say they are boys, and some say they are girls.
They are called "Zashiki-warashi," and are said to be mischievous creatures. 'Zashiki' means a room floored with tatami mats, and 'warashi' means child.
It is believed that families became wealthy is Zashiki-warashi lived in their homes.
Information about Tono's sightseeing spots is available in several languages. You can download the PDF file in your language. (provided by the Tono Chamber of Commerce)
You can get a free gift by showing your JR EAST PASS at the Tabinokura Information Center.
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