Sumita in Iwate prefecture is surrounded by abundant water and greenery,
gifted with a location of Kenji Miyazawa’s work,
“Taneyama ga Hara”, and a mystical cave, “Rokando”.
Sumita is a town located in the southeastern part of Iwate prefecture, and positioned in the southeast of the fertile Kitakami Plateau. Sumita has a fairly mild climate for Iwate prefecture in northeastern Japan, and is especially warm in the winter due to the Pacific coast climate, cool in the summer due to the inland climate, and is relatively pleasant throughout the year.
Sumita town in Iwate prefecture is surrounded by abundant water and greenery, “Taneyama ga Hara” loved by one of the most famous poet in Iwate, Kenji Miyazawa, and used as a background in his stories, and “Kesen River” known as a treasure house of freshwater fish such as sweetfish and trout. Also, there is a mystical cave “Rokando” famous for waterfall for 29meters, which is the largest scale as a waterfall inside a cave in Japan. So you can enjoy leisure activities in nature.
Pictured is the Taneyama ga Hara, located between the inland areas of Iwate and the Sanriku coastline with a climate that changes with the season, providing an abundant variety of natural views to be enjoyed. Taneyama boasts numerous walking trails throughout the forested park where you can enjoy walking and forest bathing with observing the animals and plants. In addition, camping, star watching, insect collecting and bird watching can be also enjoyed. At the base of Taneyama, there is a roadside station “Taneyama ga Hara Poran” where you can take a rest during driving or riding and buy souvenirs.
Rokando is a mystical cave created by nature over a long span of many millions of years. Amano Iwato no Taki (meaning “the waterfall of the heavenly cave”), is a waterfall that flows down from a crack in the marble cave ceiling inside the cave. It takes pride for the fact that the water falls for 29 meters, which is the largest scale as a waterfall inside a cave in Japan. Helmet, rubber boots, and jacket rentals are available at the Rokando cave visitor center. (Admission fees required).
●Footcave(in Rokando) …formed into the shape of a shelf from underground water erosion.
●Breast-shaped rock(in Rokando)…formed over a long time into the shape resembling a female breast.
●Hayama Megane Bashi (meaning a bridge shaped like a pair of glasses)
Aqueduct bridge over Kesen river. Arch made of concrete, due to the shape, it is called “glasses bridge”. Kesen River is a river that represents the clear streams of Iwate. It is known as a treasure house of freshwater fish such as sweetfish, trout, char and during the summer it becomes a bustling site with a lot of fishermen.
●Setamai Kura Nami
In the good old days, Sumita Setamai district flourished as a post-station town, and there were many traditional thick earthen walled warehouses built to protect valuables from fire and outsiders. They still can be seen.
Sumita has various kinds of folk entertainment handed down. You can observe them at the Summer festivals and other local events. Pictured is the Kakinaizawa Shishiodori.
While driving or cycling, it would not be rare for you to encounter wild animals on the road side such as deer and antelopes. Please keep aware as they sometimes come jumping out. Pictured is an antelope.
When the Setamai district flourished as a post-station town, a beggar found a fire break out, so he hit pots and let the people know about that. Due to the fact that this beggar played an important role in saving the people’s lives it has become a traditional event that takes place every year in January for fire prevention and good health. Young people dress in old clothing, wear makeup and dance the Daikokumai, while making noise by clashing cans together and chanting “Missaina (= please take a look = watch out for fire) as they walk through the town.
●Goyouzan Harquebus (Matchlock gun) troop
In the days of the feudal government, Goyouzan was directly administrated in the Date domain, and used to produce the largest number of match-cords in Japan. The villagers in the mountain regions where they made a living out of match-cord production formed a self-defense troop called a “Harquebus (Matchlock gun) troop”. Now in order to pass on its tradition and history to the next generation, they perform a shooting demonstration at local events. Shooting performances in a traditional styleand an yoroi (shogun armors) fitting experience are both available (fee required).
●Puffed cereal “Zudon”
This snack is named after “Goyozan Harquebus (Matchlock gun) troop”. It is Japanese traditional snack made from rice and others by heating and applying pressure to puff out. While cooking, it makes big noise like booming of guns. Please try different flavors from sweet taste popular for kids to spicy taste going best with beer.
Chicken diaphragms come from the base of the chicken thighs, which only weighs around 10g and therefore is quite a rare ingredient. Various chicken diaphragm dishes are available at the restaurants in Sumita. Frozen chicken diaphragms are also available at stores in town.
・Please beware of wild animals jumping out in front of you.
・In the winter season, please beware of icy roads.